The complement system represents an evolutionary old and critical component of innate immunity where it forms the first line of defense against invading pathogens. Originally described as a heat-labile fraction of the serum responsible for the opsonization and subsequent lytic killing of bacteria, work over the last century firmly established complement as a key mediator of the general inflammatory response but also as an acknowledged vital bridge between innate and adaptive immunity. However, recent studies particularly spanning the last decade have provided new insights into the novel modes and locations of complement activation and highlighted unexpected additional biological functions for this ancient system, for example, in regulating basic processes of the cell. In this review, we will cover the current knowledge about complement’s established and novel roles in innate and adaptive immunity with a focus on the functional differences between serum circulating and intracellularly active complement and will describe and discuss the newly discovered cross-talks of complement with other cell effector systems particularly during T-cell induction and contraction.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)