A Monoclonal Antibody That Provides a Model for C3 Nephritic Factors

Dennis E. Hourcade, Lynne M. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Complement is a major innate defense system that protects the intravascular space from microbial invasion. Complement activation results in the assembly of C3 convertases, serine proteases that cleave complement protein C3, generating bioactive fragments C3a and C3b. The complement response is rapid and robust, largely due to a positive feedback regulatory loop mediated by alternative pathway (AP) C3 convertase. C3 nephritic factors (C3NEFs) are autoantibodies that stabilize AP convertase, resulting in uncontrolled C3 cleavage, which, in principle, can promote critical tissue injury similar to that seen in certain renal conditions. Investigations of C3NEFs are hampered by a challenging issue: each C3NEF is derived from a different donor source, and there is no method to compare one C3NEF to another. We have identified a widely available mouse anti-C3 mAb that, similar to many C3NEFs, can stabilize functional AP convertase in a form resistant to decay acceleration by multiple complement regulators. The antibody requires the presence of properdin to confer convertase stability, and hampers the activity of Salp20, a tic salivary protein that accelerates convertase dissociation by displacing properdin from the convertase complex. This mAb can serve as an urgently needed standard for the investigation of C3NEFs. This study also provides novel insights into the dynamics of AP convertase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalMonoclonal Antibodies in Immunodiagnosis and Immunotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


  • C3 glomerulonephritis
  • C3 nephritic factor
  • alternative pathway
  • complement
  • convertase
  • properdin


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