Natural human C5a is prepared from human C5 protein by cleavage of the peptide bond between C5a and C5b by the human C5 convertase. C5a is a naturally glycosylated polypeptide containing 74 amino acids with a molecular weight of approx. 10,400 daltons. It contains 25% carbohydrate attached to a single Asn residue at position 64. This carbohydrate is of variable structure leading to a broad distribution of MW upon analysis by mass spectroscopy. C5a is the most potent anaplylatoxin (compared to C3a and C4a). Its biological properties include being strongly chemotactic for neutrophils (PMN), causing smooth muscle contraction, increasing vascular permeability, causing histamine and TNF-alpha release, and causing lysosomal degranulation of immune cells. C5a acts through the C5a Receptor (C5aR, CD88, a G-protein coupled receptor) on PMN, monocytes, alveolar macrophages, and mast cells. A second receptor of unknown function (C5L2, gpr77) has been identified. Due to the widespread expression of C5a receptors and the results from C5aR KO mice it is believed that C5a and its receptors have many non-immunolgical functions in organ development, CNS development, neurodegeneration, tissue regeneration and hematopoiesis (Monk, P.N. et al. (2007)).
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