We previously demonstrated that activation of terminal complement components (C8 and/or C9) increases the synthesis and expression of decay accelerating factor (DAF) on human glomerular cells. DAF is a cell membrane-associated complement regulatory protein that inhibits complement activation on cell surfaces. In the present studies we evaluated, first, the mechanism by which complement activation stimulates DAF synthesis, and second, the effect of complement activation on the synthesis, and expression of membrane cofactor protein (MCP), another complement regulatory protein, by human mesangial cells (HMC) in culture. Complement activation by immune complexes resulted in increased DAF mRNA levels by at least two mechanisms: deposition of activated C3 on HMC and generation of soluble complement activation products, specifically C5a. The increase in DAF mRNA levels induced by activated C3 or C5a was short lived (less than 4 hr). In contrast, the up-regulation of DAF mRNA levels induced by activation of the complete complement cascade persisted for at least eight hours. The effect of complement activation on DAF mRNA levels was not affected by cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor. However, cycloheximide alone resulted in a significant up-regulation of DAF mRNA levels on HMC. In contrast to those findings, complementary activation did not cause an up-regulation of MCP mRNA, nor an increase in the synthesis of this protein. However, by FACS, complement produced a small but significant increase of MCP protein levels on HMC. In conclusion, both MCP and DAF are present on HMC. Several activated complement components are capable of increasing DAF mRNA levels, but DAF protein levels increase only after activation of the whole complement cascade. Complement activation has no effects on the synthesis of MCP.
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