Emerging roles and new functions of CD46

M. Kathryn Liszewski, Claudia Kemper, Jeffrey D. Price, John P. Atkinson*

*Corresponding author for this work
83 Citations (Scopus)


In the past 20 years, our understanding of the workings of complement regulatory protein, CD46 (membrane cofactor protein), has grown as has the impressive list of pathogens interacting with this membrane-bound complement inhibitor. Referred to as a "pathogen magnet," CD46 serves as a receptor for seven human pathogens. Initially discovered as a widely expressed C3b- and C4b-binding protein, it was subsequently shown to be a cofactor for the serine protease factor I to inactivate by limited proteolysis these two opsonins and components of the convertases. The involvement of CD46 in reproductive processes continues to be an emerging story. It is a protector of placental tissue, but it may also play a more direct role in reproduction through its expression on the inner acrosomal membrane of spermatozoa. Cross-linking CD46 with antibodies or natural or pathogenic ligands induces rapid turnover and signaling events. In this regard, much attention is currently focused on generating human T lymphocyte regulatory cells by cross-linking CD46. Finally, highlighting its importance in protecting cells against excessive complement activation is the discovery that even a heterozygous deficiency of CD46 predisposes to hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpringer Seminars in Immunopathology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 11.2005

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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