Fc Galactosylation promotes hexamerization of human IgG1, leading to enhanced classical complement activation

Thijs L. J. van Osch, Jan Nouta, Ninotska I. L. Derksen, Gerard van Mierlo, C. Ellen van der Schoot, Manfred Wuhrer, Theo Rispens, Gestur Vidarsson

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Human IgG contains one evolutionarily conserved N-linked glycan in its Fc region at position 297. This glycan is crucial for Fc-mediated functions, including its induction of the classical complement cascade. This is induced after target recognition through the IgG-Fab regions, allowing neighboring IgG-Fc tails to associate through Fc:Fc interaction, ultimately leading to hexamer formation. This hexamerization seems crucial for IgG to enable efficient interaction with the globular heads of the first complement component C1q and subsequent complement activation. In this study, we show that galactose incorporated in the IgG1-Fc enhances C1q binding, C4, C3 deposition, and complement-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in human erythrocytes and Raji cells. IgG1-Fc sialylation slightly enhanced binding of C1q, but had little effect on downstream complement activation. Using various mutations that decrease or increase hexamerization capacity of IgG1, we show that IgG1-Fc galactosylation has no intrinsic effect on C1q binding to IgG1, but enhances IgG1 hexamerization potential and, thereby, complement activation. These data suggest that the therapeutic potential of Abs can be amplified without introducing immunogenic mutations, by relatively simple glycoengineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of immunology (Baltimore, Md.
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021

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