Complement protein C1q binds to hyaluronic acid in the malignant pleural mesothelioma microenvironment and promotes tumor growth

Beatrice Belmonte, Claudio Tripodo, Chiara Agostinis, Francesco Tedesco, Alessandro Mangogna, Romana Vidergar, Leonardo Amadio, Pietro Geri, Fabrizio Zanconati, Violetta Borelli, Uday Kishore, Marco Confalonieri, Roberta Bulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


C1q is the first recognition subcomponent of the complement classical pathway, which acts toward the clearance of pathogens and apoptotic cells. C1q is also known to modulate a range of functions of immune and non-immune cells, and has been shown to be involved in placental development and sensorial synaptic pruning. We have recently shown that C1q can promote tumor by encouraging their adhesion, migration, and proliferation in addition to angiogenesis and metastasis. In this study, we have examined the role of human C1q in the microenvironment of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a rare form of cancer commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. We found that C1q was highly expressed in all MPM histotypes, particularly in epithelioid rather than in sarcomatoid histotype. C1q avidly bound high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HA) via its globular domain. C1q bound to HA was able to induce adhesion and proliferation of mesothelioma cells (MES) via enhancement of ERK1/2, SAPK/JNK, and p38 phosphorylation; however, it did not activate the complement cascade. Consistent with the modular organization of the globular domain, we demonstrated that C1q may bind to HA through ghA module, whereas it may interact with human MES through the ghC. In conclusion, C1q highly expressed in MPM binds to HA and enhances the tumor growth promoting cell adhesion and proliferation. These data can help develop novel diagnostic markers and molecular targets for MPM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-
Number of pages0
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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