Pangburn, Michael K; Ferreira, Viviana P; Cortes, Claudio
Pathogen-specific complement activation requires direct recognition of pathogens and/or the absence of complement control mechanisms on their surfaces. Antibodies direct complement activation to potential pathogens recognized by the cellular innate and adaptive immune systems. Similarly, the plasma proteins MBL and ficolins direct activation to microorganisms expressing common carbohydrate structures. The absence of complement control proteins permits amplification of complement by the alternative pathway on any unprotected surface. The importance of complement recognition molecules (MBL, ficolins, factor H, C3, C1q, properdin, and others) to human disease are becoming clear as analysis of genetic data and knock out animals reveals links between complement proteins and specific diseases.