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The complement system

The complement system is a group of plasma protein mediators that can act as an innate nonspecific defense while also serving to connect innate and adaptive immunity (discussed in the next chapter). The complement system is composed of more than 30 proteins (including C1 through C9) that normally circulate as precursor proteins in blood. These precursor proteins become activated when stimulated or triggered by a variety of factors, including the presence of microorganisms. Complement proteins are considered part of innate nonspecific immunity because they are always present in the blood and tissue fluids, allowing them to be activated quickly. Also, when activated through the alternative pathway (described later in this section), complement proteins target pathogens in a nonspecific manner.

The process by which circulating complement precursors become functional is called complement activation . This process is a cascade that can be triggered by one of three different mechanisms, known as the alternative, classical, and lectin pathways.

The alternative pathway is initiated by the spontaneous activation of the complement protein C3. The hydrolysis of C3 produces two products, C3a and C3b. When no invader microbes are present, C3b is very quickly degraded in a hydrolysis reaction using the water in the blood. However, if invading microbes are present, C3b attaches to the surface of these microbes. Once attached, C3b will recruit other complement proteins in a cascade ( [link] ).

The classical pathway provides a more efficient mechanism of activating the complement cascade, but it depends upon the production of antibodies by the specific adaptive immune defenses. To initiate the classical pathway, a specific antibody must first bind to the pathogen to form an antibody-antigen complex. This activates the first protein in the complement cascade, the C1 complex. The C1 complex is a multipart protein complex, and each component participates in the full activation of the overall complex. Following recruitment and activation of the C1 complex, the remaining classical pathway complement proteins are recruited and activated in a cascading sequence ( [link] ).

The lectin activation pathway is similar to the classical pathway, but it is triggered by the binding of mannose-binding lectin, an acute-phase protein, to carbohydrates on the microbial surface. Like other acute-phase proteins, lectins are produced by liver cells and are commonly upregulated in response to inflammatory signals received by the body during an infection ( [link] ).

A diagram outlining the three complement pathways. At the top is the invading pathogen. Two antibodies bind to an antigen on the surface of the pathogen. C1 binds to the antigen-antibody complex. This is labeled the classic pathway. C1 causes C2 and C4 to be cut into two pieces. Parts of C2 and C4 bind together to form C3 convertase. The alternate pathway also leads to C3 convertase but does so directly. C3 convertase then cuts C3 in two and one of these binds to C3 convertase. The resulting enzyme is called C5 convertase. C5 convertase lyses C5 into two pieces. One of the C5 pieces joins other complement proteins (C6, C7, C8 and C9) to create a pore through the membrane of the invading cell. This pore kills the cell. Endogenous proteins on the host cell protect the host membrane from the complement proteins.
The three complement activation pathways have different triggers, as shown here, but all three result in the activation of the complement protein C3, which produces C3a and C3b. The latter binds to the surface of the target cell and then works with other complement proteins to cleave C5 into C5a and C5b. C5b also binds to the cell surface and then recruits C6 through C9; these molecules form a ring structure called the membrane attack complex (MAC), which punches through the cell membrane of the invading pathogen, causing it to swell and burst.

Questions & Answers

Explain about enzyme transportation
Shahla Reply
Enzyme transportation
Shahla
it looks reallllyyyyy coooooooollll. i love enzymes theyre so cooll and i also like protein transportation so i think it would be really cool so an enzyme transport something so ill do some research and come back to ya in that
maxo
what is the infectious disease process
Patience Reply
what are differences between endotoxins and exotoxins
sabote Reply
endo toxins work in the nuceus. i think
maxo
tell me if im right tho
maxo
Exotoxins are toxic substances secreted by bacteria and released outside the cell. Both gram positive and gram negative bacteria can produce and secrete exotoxins. Whereas Endotoxins are bacterial toxins consisting of lipids that are located within a cell. Only lysed gram negatives.
Abdi
Remebr the Lipid A portion of LPS is what's toxic.
Abdi
oh yeah. thanks
maxo
Your welcome :)
Abdi
How did you learn this?
maxo
For me personally the best book is 'microbiology made ridiculously simple'
Abdi
I got my basics from there and slowly added information from other sources.
Abdi
thats cool! yeah i like microbiology too! especially the molecular proteins theyre sooooooooooo cool!
maxo
what are the prokaryotic
Lungu Reply
prokaraytotic is a unicellular organizm that lacks membrane bound nucleus
Zaajid
and whats eukaryotic
abdiqani
eukaryotic cell are cell which contain anuclues and organells
Zaajid
eukaryotes are the cells that have organells which are protected by membranes
maxo
eukaryotic is are multicellular organisms which are open nucleus.
Serah
Explain on the Francisco reddi did to prove the theory of spontaneous generation
Diana Reply
what is parasite
Abdirizack Reply
parasite are organisms feeds on a host for food and survival.e.g round worm for animal, Dodder for plant parasites.
Serah
parasite are organisms that feeds on a host for food and survival.e.g round worm for animal and mistletoe for plant parasites.
Serah
parasite are organisms that feed on their host
Cylla
designing of aseptic area
Aashish Reply
I don't know
Abdirizack
what is rickettsia
DENNIS Reply
what is microbiology
Erasto
Is the science that works with microorganisms.
Rose
richettsa is small microorganisms that cause disease in human like typhus; they are like viruses that can grow only inside living cells, they're transmitted by mites, ticks or lices.
Rose
what is plasmid?
mavis
plasmid is extra chromosomal body present in bacteria...which have additional genetic functions example... antibiotic resistance genes....etc etc
Chaitanya
state the theory of spontaneous generation of micro oranisms and germ theory of disease
UKAMAKA Reply
what are the advantages of high note numerical aperture
Genius Reply
list if non flagellated pritozoa
Mepung Reply
Can someone that's understanding of the Kreb Cycle please explain & breakdown it down to me in the simplest way without giving me the dictionary version or Google version. Basically in there own words of knowledge....!
Kisha
ok
lucas
please can someone help explain positive and negative feedback in simple term
Gum
negative feedback is the arresting of reaction or reverse of the reaction according to the response and postive feed back is the direct response without reversing or arresting a reaction.
Greet
OK
umar
pls can someone explained Kinney stone in memorising in shot time
umar
what tyoebif microorganism will be killed by antibiotic trwatmeant
Mary Reply
I don't really don't understand aerobic respiration anaerobic respiration and fermentation. Can someone explain & breakdown this in the simplest way please.
Kisha
Anaerobic Respiration in which foodstuffs are partially oxidized, with the release of chemical energy, in a process not involving atmospheric oxygen, such as alcoholic fermentation, in which one of the end products is ethanol.
Muhammad
aerobic respiration A type of respiration in which foodstuffs are completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water, with the release of chemical energy, in a process requiring atmospheric oxygen.
Muhammad
please can someone explain what pseudomonas species and biofilm is?
uju
Fermentation is the growth of cells or microorganisms in bioreactors (fermenters) to synthesize special products. Fermentation in biochemistry refers to the biodegradation of carbon compounds by cells or organisms under anaerobic (lack of oxygen) conditions.
Muhammad
Please under which conditions does pathogens become established in the human tissues and can cause diseases
Atambilla
please the life cycle of plasmodium parasite
mavis
who is John Needham
Mary Reply
John Needham is one of the researcher in microbiology. He also experimented when scientists did not believe animals could arise spontaneously ,but did believe microbes could.
Gum
okay is he late
Mary
by the way what are the list of courses offered by a newly admitted student for microbiology
Mary
Needham's experiments with beef gravy and infusions of plants material reinforced this idea.
Gum
what drugs are given to a person with Otis nerve problem(ear problem)
Gum Reply
good morning to you all.
Muhammad Reply
Dr.A.K.S.P.G. college Akbarpur Ambedkar Nagar
Rajan
Shailesh Vishwakarma BSc 1st year
Rajan
Practice MCQ 5

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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