C1q in health and disease – roles outside the complement system

Marina Botto FMedSci is the Director of the Centre for Complement and Inflammation Research (CCIR) and Professor of Rheumatology at the Imperial College London. She is also a Consultant Rheumatologist at Imperial Academic Health Science Centre, Hammersmith Campus.

The focus of her research programme is to understand how complement deficiency contributes to the autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Her laboratory is particularly interested in understanding the consequences of inherited complement deficiencies in humans and the role(s) that the complement system plays in the clearance of dying cells as well as immune complexes. Using in vivo models, genetic and cellular approaches and experimental models of inflammation she has demonstrated that: i) inherited defects in the pathways for clearance of cellular debris and immune complexes predispose to the development of SLE; ii) there is a link between spontaneous autoimmunity and abnormalities of the physiological clearance of apoptotic cells in humans with complement deficiency; iii) the complement system modulates the adaptive immune system; iv) autoimmunity varies according to the genetic background of the model used and identified lupus susceptibility loci. The laboratory currently aims to delineate the contribution of complement system in the induction and resolution of inflammation and to define the mechanisms by which the complement system regulates the tolerance to self-antigens.