Proteomic Analysis of Complement Proteins in Membranous Nephropathy

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Membranous nephropathy (MN) is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in Caucasian adults. Phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R)– and exostosin 1 (EXT1)/exostosin 2 (EXT2)–associated MN represent the most common primary and secondary forms of MN. The complement profile using a proteomics approach has not been studied in these 2 common forms of MN. Methods: We used laser microdissection and mass spectrometry (MS/MS) to dissect glomeruli and identify glomerular complement proteins in PLA2R-associated (n = 7), EXT1/EXT2-associated MN (n = 21), and 11 control cases (time 0 transplant biopsies). Results: MS/MS identified high total spectral counts for PLA2R and EXT1/EXT2 in corresponding cases of PLA2R- and EXT1/EXT2-positive MN. Both PLA2R- and EXT1/EXT2-associated MN had high spectral counts of complement proteins C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, and C9. Complement protein C1 was present in low spectral counts in EXT1/EXT2-associated MN. Regulators of complement activation that were detected in MN included higher spectral counts of FH, FHR-1, FHR-5, clusterin, vitronectin and lower spectral counts of FHR-3, FHR-4, and CD59. Low spectral counts of FB and properdin, key components of the alternative pathway, also were detected. IgG4 and IgG1 were the most abundant IgG subclasses in PLA2R- and EXT1/EXT2-associated MN. Lower spectral counts for C3, C4, and C5 were detected in control cases when compared with MN. Conclusion: Significant complement activation is present in MN as evidenced by large spectral counts of complement proteins from C3- and C4-based pathways, including regulatory proteins of complement pathways. These data suggest that anticomplement drugs may be effective in treatment for MN.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ravindran A; Madden B; Charlesworth MC; Sharma R; Sethi A; Debiec H; Cattran D; Fervenza FC; Smith RJ; Ronco P
  • Start Page

  • 618
  • End Page

  • 626
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 5