The human C3b receptor: function and role in human diseases.
The human C3b receptor (CR1) is a polymorphic glycoprotein which functions regulating the complement system by inhibiting the activation of C3 and C5, through its effect on their convertases, and serving as cofactor for factor I in mediating the degradation of C3b to its inactive fragment C3bi and further to C3d-g. The latter are then ligands for their respective receptors on leukocytes, CR3 and CR2. Additionally, CR1 on erythrocytes endows these cells with the capacity to deliver immune complexes (IC) to the reticuloendothelial system, resulting in their clearance from the circulation. On phagocytes, this receptor participates in the process of endocytosis of foreign particles. There is a wide inherited variation of CR1 expression on erythrocytes (CR1/E) of different individuals. Patients with diseases which feature elevated levels of IC, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, leprosy, and AIDS, have a marked decrease of CR1/E, which may result in an altered clearance. This reduction appears to be related to disease activity, and the most probable site for CR1/E loss is during the transfer of IC to macrophages. Healthy neutrophils increase tenfold their expression of CR1 in response to the effect of chemoattractant peptides. Neutrophils from patients with AIDS display an altered response to stimulation. This defect may be of relevance in the process of endocytosis.