Naturally occurring autoantibodies in mediating clearance of senescent red blood cells

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Germline-encoded naturally occurring autoantibodies (NAbs) developed about 400 to 450 million years ago to provide specificity for clearance ofbody waste in animals with 3 germ layers. Such NAbs became a necessity to selectively clear aged red blood cells (RBC) surviving 60 to 120 d in higher vertebrates. IgG NAbs to senescent RBC are directed to the most abundant integral membrane protein, the anion-transport protein or band 3 protein, but only bind firmly upon its oligomerization, which facilitates bivalent binding. The main constituent of RBC, the oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, is susceptible to oxidative damage. Oxidized hemoglobin forms hemichromes (a form of aggregates) that bind to the cytoplasmic portion of band 3 protein, induces their clustering on the cytoplasmic, as well as the exoplasmic side and thereby provides the prerequisites for the low affinity IgG anti-band 3 NAbs to bind bivalently. Bound anti-band 3 NAbs overcome their low numbers per RBC by stimulating complement amplification. An affinity for C3 outside the antigen binding region is responsible for a preferential formation of C3b 2 -IgG complexes from anti-band 3 NAbs. These complexes first bind oligomeric properdin, which enhances their affinity for factor B in assembling an alternative C3 convertase. © 2012 Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.




Lutz, H. U. (2012). Naturally occurring autoantibodies in mediating clearance of senescent red blood cells. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 750, 76–90.

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