The axis of complement C1 and nucleolus in antinuclear autoimmunity

Front Immunol. 2023 Jun 9:14:1196544. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1196544. eCollection 2023.

Abstract

Antinuclear autoantibodies (ANA) are heterogeneous self-reactive antibodies that target the chromatin network, the speckled, the nucleoli, and other nuclear regions. The immunological aberration for ANA production remains partially understood, but ANA are known to be pathogenic, especially, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Most SLE patients exhibit a highly polygenic disease involving multiple organs, but in rare complement C1q, C1r, or C1s deficiencies, the disease can become largely monogenic. Increasing evidence point to intrinsic autoimmunogenicity of the nuclei. Necrotic cells release fragmented chromatins as nucleosomes and the alarmin HMGB1 is associated with the nucleosomes to activate TLRs and confer anti-chromatin autoimmunogenecity. In speckled regions, the major ANA targets Sm/RNP and SSA/Ro contain snRNAs that confer autoimmunogenecity to Sm/RNP and SSA/Ro antigens. Recently, three GAR/RGG-containing alarmins have been identified in the nucleolus that helps explain its high autoimmunogenicity. Interestingly, C1q binds to the nucleoli exposed by necrotic cells to cause protease C1r and C1s activation. C1s cleaves HMGB1 to inactive its alarmin activity. C1 proteases also degrade many nucleolar autoantigens including nucleolin, a major GAR/RGG-containing autoantigen and alarmin. It appears that the different nuclear regions are intrinsically autoimmunogenic by containing autoantigens and alarmins. However, the extracellular complement C1 complex function to dampen nuclear autoimmunogenecity by degrading these nuclear proteins.

Keywords: ANA; GAR/RGG; SLE; alarmin; complement C1; nucleolin; nucleolus autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alarmins
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantigens
  • Autoimmunity
  • Complement C1
  • HMGB1 Protein*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic*
  • Nucleosomes

Substances

  • Complement C1
  • HMGB1 Protein
  • Alarmins
  • Nucleosomes
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantigens

Grants and funding

This work is supported by the Singapore National Medical Research Council Open-funding Individual Research Grants (NMRC/OFIRG/0013/2016; MOH-000958)