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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activation and binding of opsonic fragments of C3 on encapsulated Cryptococcus neoformans by using an alternative complement pathway reconstituted from six isolated proteins.

Encapsulated Cryptococcus neoformans yeast cells are potent activators of the complement system. We examined the interaction of the yeast cells with an alternative complement pathway reconstituted from isolated factor D, factor B, factor H, factor I, C3, and properdin. Incubation of encapsulated cryptococci with the reconstituted pathway led to activation and binding of C3 fragments to the yeast cells that was quantitatively and qualitatively identical to that observed with normal human serum. Incubation with either normal serum or a mixture of isolated proteins led to binding of 4 x 10(7) to 5 x 10(7) C3 molecules to the yeast cells. The kinetics for activation and binding of C3 were identical, with maximum binding observed after a 20-min incubation. Immunoglobulin G was not needed for optimal activation kinetics. C3 fragments eluted from the yeast cells by treatment with hydroxylamine and subsequent analysis by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis demonstrated the presence primarily of iC3b on yeast cells incubated with either normal serum or the reconstituted pathway. Ultrastructural examination of the opsonized yeast cells showed that the cryptococcal capsule was the site for binding of C3 activated from normal serum or the reconstituted pathway, with a dense accumulation of C3 at the periphery of the capsule. Thus, incubation of encapsulated cryptococci in the reconstituted pathway led to deposition of opsonic complement fragments at a site that was appropriate for interaction with phagocyte receptors. Cryptococci opsonized with the reconstituted pathway showed a markedly enhanced interaction with cultured human monocytes compared with unopsonized yeast cells, indicating that the alternative pathway alone is opsonic for yeast cells. However, the results indicate that additional serum factors are needed for optimal opsonization of yeast cells because a 35% reduction in the number of cryptococci bound to macrophages was observed with cryptococci opsonized with the reconstituted pathway compared with that observed when yeast cells were opsonized with normal serum.[1]


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