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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

fermented foods likely benefited ancestors to preserve foods and make other foods like milk, cheese, and bread using microbes.
Zinnia Reply
the evidence that I would support the statement regarding ancient people ideas that disease was transmitted by things they could not see is by the discoveries under a microscope. Many microbiologists have discovered certain diseases caused by microbes.
Zinnia
plz give the information about glyoxylate cycle
kamini Reply
what type of information?
Sapiens
I need medical microbiology mcqs books for Mbbs
Kisota
for pakistani mbbs or other?
Sapiens
what is microbial soup?
Osborn Reply
😃😂funny question isn't it?!!! sorry for inconvenience 😊
ayesha
most bacterial pathogens that cause disease in humans are classified in terms if their preferable ph as
Beesan Reply
what is micro
Kabul Reply
extremely small in size
Swetha
almost invisible to the naked eye
Peter
thanks
Sadiq
uwc
Peter
invisible sized objects
Sivasri
invisible sized object or specimens.which is used to see in only the microscope that specimens or objective called the micro
Sivasri
small organism that can be seen by use of Microbes
Manyang
why do you need to study microorganisms
Sala
what is microbiology?
Green Reply
microbiology is a branch of biology .it deals with the study of microorganisms life cycle , uses, disadvantages,and it impact in any other fields .which is used to view in microscope .
Sivasri
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, those being unicellular, multicellular, or acellular. Microbiology encompasses numerous sub-disciplines including virology, bacteriology, protistology, mycology, immunology and parasitology. 
Raj
In short , it is the study of micro organisms and types , characteristics.
Kaviya
can you explain the structure of rna in detail
Dhanalakshmi Reply
RNA is of many types....like mRNA,tRNA,rRNA,snRNA,guideRNA..etc .
Swetha
but generally RNA is single stranded
Swetha
It contains adenine guanine cytosine , instead of thymine it contains uracil.
Swetha
ribonucleic acid present in RNA.. where as in DNA it is deoxyribonucleic acid...and ribonucleotide is present in RNA
Swetha
RNA is a blue print of DNA. it has the information from DNA....and we can predict the base panirs in DNA if we have the RNA....copy of that DNA
Swetha
can either have positive or negative polarity
Ernestine
Diatoms need..... With the help of which they can construct their beautiful cell wall
Prathmesh Reply
Microbial growth curve shows a.... Curve.
Shambhuraj Reply
diminishing curve
Oluwapamilerin
It represents the decreasing growth of an organism.
Swetha
what is meant by reverse isolation in tuberculosis treatment?
Swetha Reply
why do we study microbiology
HABIBA Reply
Microbiology is the way of gaining knowledge about those organisms which are surround us but we can't see them with our naked eye,such organisms called microorganisms..We can see them only under microscope.
ayesha
from our birth to death microorganisms are with us in the environment as well as on our body which are called Microflora.
ayesha
Microfloras are non pathogenic
ayesha
what is microbiology
Anji Reply
It is the study of microorganisms and their structures functions and their interactions with environment ...
Swetha
it is the study of microorganisms which are invisible to backed eye but we can see them under microscope then microbiology is the study of microorganisms including their structures , functions,and their interactions with environment
Swetha
tq
Anji
tqq...not backed eye sorry nacked eye
Swetha
it's ok
Anji
where r u from
Anji
thank you
Swetha
from India
Swetha
which state
Anji
Hyderabad .
Swetha
so telugu vosthadhi kadha
Anji
chelusu nakku kochum
Swetha
thank you
Swetha
what is reverse isolation in tuberculosis treatment?
Swetha
Reverse isolation is used to protect you from germs when your immune system is not working properly. Germs can be carried on droplets in the air, medical equipment, or another person's body or clothing.
Kaviya
will you repeat this again?
Swetha
Reverse isolationis used to protect you from germs when your immune system is not working properly. Germs can be carried on droplets in the air, medical equipment, or another person's body or clothing.
Kaviya
kill you?
Swetha
Y
Kaviya
nothing to see the whole answer that is why I sent u like that then only I can see the full answer la
Swetha
What is allosteric site?
Hetshree Reply
I don't know how to explain but it's a deep concave site of an enzyme it's slightly or more slightly similar to the active site on an enzyme
ayesha
a site other than enzyme active site
Muhammad
describe the gram staining procedure as used in identification and classification of bacteria and it's interpretation
tabitha Reply
Gram staining method found by Hans Christian Gram. Classified into Gram Positive and Gram Negative Positive would be purple or blue stained bacteria Negative would be Pink or Red stained bacteria Both are observed under microscope This procedure performed on glass slides by making a smear of sample.
ayesha
Thanks.. nicely u defined
shamim
jazakallah Khair
ayesha
hmmm
shamim
Masha allah
Khamis
jazakallah Khair
ayesha
hi
Nafiu
Heavy rains on Tuesday 21/1/20202 caused heavy floods on wednesday of 22/1/2020. Floods caused a lot of destruction including cut off of central corridor main road, property destruction and other problems including a single reported death. As a clinician you are asked to mention and explain 5 common health problems in all disasters.
Miryam Reply
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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