Fibrinogen interaction with complement C3: a potential therapeutic target to reduce thrombosis risk.
Complement C3 binds fibrinogen and compromises fibrin clot lysis thereby enhancing thrombosis risk. We investigated the role of fibrinogen-C3 interaction as a novel therapeutic target to reduce thrombosis risk by analysing: i) consistency in the fibrinolytic properties of C3, ii) binding sites between fibrinogen and C3 and iii) modulation of fibrin clot lysis by manipulating fibrinogen-C3 interactions. Purified fibrinogen and C3 from the same individuals (n=24) were used to assess inter-individual variability in the anti-fibrinolytic effects of C3. Microarray screening and molecular modelling evaluated C3 and fibrinogen interaction sites. Novel synthetic conformational proteins, termed Affimers, were used to modulate C3-fibrinogen interaction and fibrinolysis. C3 purified from patients with type 1 diabetes showed enhanced prolongation of fibrinolysis compared with healthy control protein [195±105 and 522±166 seconds, respectively (p=0.04)], with consistent effects but a wider range (5-51% and 5-18% lysis prolongation, respectively). Peptide microarray screening identified 2 potential C3-fibrinogen interactions sites within fibrinogen β chain (residues 424-433, 435-445). One fibrinogen-binding Affimer was isolated that displayed sequence identity with C3 in an exposed area of the protein. This Affimer abolished C3-induced prolongation of fibrinolysis (728±25.1 seconds to 632±23.7 seconds, p=0.005) and showed binding to fibrinogen in the same region that is involved in C3-fibrinogen interactions. Moreover, it shortened plasma clot lysis of patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease or controls by 7-11%. C3 binds fibrinogen β-chain and disruption of fibrinogen-C3 interaction using Affimer proteins enhances fibrinolysis, which represents a potential novel target tool to reduce thrombosis in high risk individuals.