Complement Factor B Mediates Ocular Angiogenesis through Regulating the VEGF Signaling Pathway
Complement factor B (CFB), a 95-kDa protein, is a crucial catalytic element of the alternative pathway (AP) of complement. After binding of CFB to C3b, activation of the AP depends on the proteolytic cleavage of CFB by factor D to generate the C3 convertase (C3bBb). The C3 convertase contains the catalytic subunit of CFB (Bb), the enzymatic site for the cleavage of a new molecule of C3 into C3b. In addition to its role in activating the AP, CFB has been implicated in pathological ocular neovascularization, a common feature of several blinding eye diseases, however, with somewhat conflicting results. The focus of this study was to investigate the direct impact of CFB on ocular neovascularization in a tightly controlled environment. Using mouse models of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), our study demonstrated an increase in CFB expression during pathological angiogenesis. Results from several in vitro and ex vivo functionality assays indicated a promoting effect of CFB in angiogenesis. Mechanistically, CFB exerts this pro-angiogenic effect by mediating the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathway. In summary, we demonstrate compelling evidence for the role of CFB in driving ocular angiogenesis in a VEGF-dependent manner. This work provides a framework for a more in-depth exploration of CFB-mediated effects in ocular angiogenesis in the future.