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Complement C1q is part of the C1 macromolecular complex that mediates the classical complement activation pathway: a major arm of innate immune defense. C1q is composed of A, B, and C chains that require post-translational prolyl 4-hydroxylation of their N-terminal collagen-like domain to enable the formation of the functional triple helical multimers. The prolyl 4-hydroxylase(s) that hydroxylate C1q have not previously been identified. Recognized prolyl 4-hydroxylases include collagen prolyl-4-hydroxylases (CP4H) and the more recently described prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) enzymes that act as oxygen sensors regulating hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). We show that several small-molecule prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors that activate HIF also potently suppress C1q secretion by human macrophages. However, reducing oxygenation to a level that activates HIF does not compromise C1q hydroxylation. In vitro studies showed that a C1q A chain peptide is not a substrate for PHD2 but is a substrate for CP4H1. Circulating levels of C1q did not differ between wild-type mice or mice with genetic deficits in PHD enzymes, but were reduced by prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors. Thus, C1q is hydroxylated by CP4H, but not the structurally related PHD hydroxylases. Hence, reduction of C1q levels may be an important off-target side effect of small molecule PHD inhibitors developed as treatments for renal anemia.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.kint.2017.03.008

Type

Journal article

Journal

Kidney international

Publication Date

10/2017

Volume

92

Pages

900 - 908

Addresses

Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, NDORMS, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.