Caister Academic Press

Subversion of Complement

Reinhard Würzner
from: Microbial Subversion of Immunity: Current Topics (Edited by: Peter J. Lachmann and M.B.A. Oldstone). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2006)


Complement is probably the most important arm of the innate humoral immune system and virtually all pathogens invading the human host are attacked by it directly following entry and usually also during consecutive stages of disease, especially when they are in contact with blood. In order to escape or subvert the destructive action of complement, both its direct action and the interplay with the phagocytic system, most micro-organisms have developed an effective battery of specific strategies in order to survive the hostile environment within the host. The measures to avoid recognition and destruction by complement via complement-mediated attraction, opsonisation and activation of phagocytic cells, and lysis involves microbial molecules which are expressed on the surface or secreted into the near vicinity and can therefore be considered as virulence factors. Of all these highly sophisticated mechanisms imitation (molecular mimicry) and employment of host complement proteins appear to be the most evolutionary elaborated read more ...
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