Engineering of human complement component C3 for catalytic inhibition of complement

Immunol Lett. 2005 Apr 15;98(1):49-56. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2004.10.010. Epub 2004 Nov 13.


As a novel therapeutic approach in complement-mediated pathologies, we recently developed a human C3 derivative capable of obliterating functional complement by a catalytic, non-inhibitory mechanism. In this derivative, the C-terminal region of hC3 was substituted by a 275 amino acid sequence derived from the corresponding sequence of cobra venom factor (CVF), a complement-activating C3b homologue from snake venom. In this study, we replaced shorter C-terminal sequences of hC3 by corresponding CVF sequences to further reduce potential immunogenicity and to identify domains essential for the formation of functionally stable C3 convertases. In one of these derivatives that is still capable of obliterating functional complement in vitro, the non-human portion could be reduced to a small domain located in the C-terminus of different complement proteins. This conserved NTR/C345C motif is known to be involved in assembly of different convertases of the complement system. These results suggest a major role of the C345C domain in the regulation of the half-life of the C3 convertase. Moreover, its overall identity of 96% to human C3 renders this derivative a promising candidate for therapeutic intervention in complement-mediated pathologies.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Complement C3 / metabolism*
  • Complement C3-C5 Convertases / metabolism
  • Complement Inactivator Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Engineering*
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Complement C3
  • Complement Inactivator Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Complement C3-C5 Convertases