Rat C1q is purified from pooled normal rat serum. C1q is part of the C1 complex, which is the first complement component in the classical pathway of complement. The C1 complex is a non-covalent assembly of three different proteins (C1q, C1r, and C1s) bound together in a calcium-dependent complex. C1q has six extended arms with domains at the end of each arm that bind to the Fc domains of immunoglobulins such as IgG or IgM. When antibodies bind to antigens, forming immune complexes, they cluster allowing two or more of the six C1q arms to bind to the Fc domains of antibodies. Rat IgG2 is very efficient when compared to IgG1 in activating complement (Medgyesi, G.A et., al., 1981). This is in contrast to the human system in which IgG1 activates complement but not IgG2 (Redpath, S. et. al., 1998). The binding of multiple arms of C1q to immune complexes causes the two C1r proteins in the complex (protease zymogens) to auto-activate. The activated C1r proteases cleave and activate the two C1s protease zymogens in the complex. The activated C1s cleaves complement component C4 releasing C4a and initiating covalent attachment of C4b to the activating surface. Activated C1s also cleaves C2 and the larger fragment of C2 binds to the surface-attached C4b forming C4b,C2a, the C3/C5 convertase of the classical pathway.
Rat IgG1 cannot activate complement whereas rat IgG2 does.
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