A novel approach to immunoapheresis of C3a/C3 and proteomic identification of associates

PeerJ. 2019 Dec 16:7:e8218. doi: 10.7717/peerj.8218. eCollection 2019.


Background: Complement factor C3 represents the central component of the complement cascade and its activation split product C3a plays an important role in inflammation and disease. Many human disorders are linked to dysregulation of the complement system and alteration in interaction molecules. Therefore, various therapeutic approaches to act on the complement system have been initiated.

Methods and results: Aiming to develop a tool to eliminate C3a/C3 from the circulation, in a first step a high affine murine monoclonal antibody (mAb) (3F7E2-mAb) was generated against complement factor C3 and selected for binding to the C3a region to serve as immunoaffinity reagent. Functional testing of the 3F7E2-mAb revealed an inhibition of Zymosan-induced cleavage of C3a from C3. Subsequently, a C3a/C3 specific 3F7E2-immunoaffinity column was developed and apheresis of C3a/C3 and associates was performed. Finally, a proteomic analysis was carried out for identification of apheresis products. C3a/C3 was liberated from the 3F7E2-column together with 278 proteins. C3a/C3 interaction specificity was validated by using a haptoglobin immunoaffinity column as control and biostatistic analysis revealed 39 true C3a/C3 interactants.

Conclusion: A novel and functionally active mAb was developed against complement factor C3a/C3 and used in a specific immunoaffinity column that allows apheresis of C3a/C3 and associates and their identification by proteomic analysis. This methodological approach of developing specific antibodies that can be used as immunoaffinity reagents to design immunoaffinity columns for elimination and further identification of associated proteins could open new avenues for the development of tailored immunotherapy in various complement-mediated or autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Complement factor C3a/C3; Electrophoresis; Immunoapheresis; Mass spectrometry; Monoclonal antibody; Proteomic analysis.

Grants and funding

The authors received no funding for this work.