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Although each complement activation pathway is initiated in a different way, they all provide the same protective outcomes: opsonization, inflammation, chemotaxis , and cytolysis. The term opsonization refers to the coating of a pathogen by a chemical substance (called an opsonin ) that allows phagocytic cells to recognize, engulf, and destroy it more easily. Opsonins from the complement cascade include C1q, C3b, and C4b. Additional important opsonins include mannose-binding proteins and antibodies. The complement fragments C3a and C5a are well-characterized anaphylatoxins with potent proinflammatory functions. Anaphylatoxins activate mast cells, causing degranulation and the release of inflammatory chemical signals, including mediators that cause vasodilation and increased vascular permeability. C5a is also one of the most potent chemoattractants for neutrophils and other white blood cells, cellular defenses that will be discussed in the next section.

The complement proteins C6, C7, C8, and C9 assemble into a membrane attack complex (MAC) , which allows C9 to polymerize into pores in the membranes of gram-negative bacteria. These pores allow water, ions, and other molecules to move freely in and out of the targeted cells, eventually leading to cell lysis and death of the pathogen ( [link] ). However, the MAC is only effective against gram-negative bacteria; it cannot penetrate the thick layer of peptidoglycan associated with cell walls of gram-positive bacteria. Since the MAC does not pose a lethal threat to gram-positive bacterial pathogens, complement-mediated opsonization is more important for their clearance.


Cytokines are soluble proteins that act as communication signals between cells. In a nonspecific innate immune response, various cytokines may be released to stimulate production of chemical mediators or other cell functions, such as cell proliferation, cell differentiation, inhibition of cell division, apoptosis, and chemotaxis.

When a cytokine binds to its target receptor, the effect can vary widely depending on the type of cytokine and the type of cell or receptor to which it has bound. The function of a particular cytokine can be described as autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine ( [link] ). In autocrine function , the same cell that releases the cytokine is the recipient of the signal; in other words, autocrine function is a form of self-stimulation by a cell. In contrast, paracrine function involves the release of cytokines from one cell to other nearby cells, stimulating some response from the recipient cells. Last, endocrine function occurs when cells release cytokines into the bloodstream to be carried to target cells much farther away.

Cytokines are molecular messengers. In autocrine signaling the same cell secretes and receives cytokine signals. The diagram shows a single cell releasing molecules and having the molecules bind to receptors on its surface. In paracrine signaling cytokine signals are secreted to a nearby cell. The diagram shows a cell labeled secreting cell secreting cytokines. A nearby cell has receptors for the molecules. In endocrine signaling cytokine signals are secreted to the circulatory system and travel to distant cells. The diagram shows the secreting cell secreting cytokines; the cytokines then travel through a blood vessel and bind to receptors on a distant cell.
Autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine actions describe which cells are targeted by cytokines and how far the cytokines must travel to bind to their intended target cells’ receptors.

Three important classes of cytokines are the interleukins, chemokines, and interferons. The interleukins were originally thought to be produced only by leukocytes (white blood cells) and to only stimulate leukocytes, thus the reasons for their name. Although interleukins are involved in modulating almost every function of the immune system, their role in the body is not restricted to immunity. Interleukins are also produced by and stimulate a variety of cells unrelated to immune defenses.

Questions & Answers

what is cell
Avi Reply
is unit of life
who is an industrial microbiologist
Cynthia Reply
I want to know the biochemical composition of bacteria
Josh Reply
It contains peptidoglcon, DNA nd RNA
bacteriophage disadvantage
Momina Reply
disease due to __________ abnormalities are termed primary immunodeficiencies
Tayee Reply
Some primary immunodeficiencies are due to a defect of a single cellular or humoral component of the immune system.
Examples of primary immunodeficiencies include: chronic granulomatous disease, X-linked agammaglobulinemia, selective IgA deficiency etc
thank you
explain microbial mutation
what is mutation
Cynthia Reply
alteration in genetic makeup
Hi, I'm new here. I'm Bello Abdul Hakeem from Nigeria.
welcome on board
Thanks brother I'm an undergraduate. I hope to study for MBBS.
pls guys help me out
what is limitation of plate
limitation of plate load test . there are some that should be considered while performing load test which are given below, this test is usually performed on relatively similar plate ,usually 1 or 2 square foot area the reason is that the plate of greater are the economically not feasible
iam new here my name shafiu umar from Nigeria
thanks shafiu
how to differentiate Gram positive from Gram negative bacteria?
by the cell membrane
with gram staining which has 4 steps
Mechanism of bacterial pathogenicity
rashida Reply
write a short note on Algea
najaatu Reply
green minutes plants organisms that are produced in turf.
Algae is a kind of a photosynthetic organism, which is usually grown in the moist areas. These are usually the simple plants that grow near to the water bodies. It contains a kind of chlorophyll pigments that act as a primary coloring agent.
they are eukaryotic and most lived in fresh water. they are photosynthetic that's, they contain chlorophyll and store starch in discrete chloroplast.
are bacteria important to man
just Reply
yes, depending on the type of bacteria .eg the normal florals, the latic acid batteries etc are important to man
I mean latic acid bacterial
I don't understand this topic
Jane Reply
what topic is that
sahi kon hai bhosri ke
saurabh Reply
define metabolism of carbohydrates with example
Thavasi Reply
what is sterilization a
the process of keep equipment free from bacteria
is it only bacteria?
no undesirable fungi and contamination also.
what is streak plate method
what is the biofilm
metabolism is the sum of all the biochemical reaction required for energy generation and use of that energy to synthesize cell materials from small molecules in environment.
what are granulocytes
Shawnitta Reply
granulocytes are type of WBCs which contains granules in the cytoplasm
what is mutation
it is the interchange of genes from their normal sequence
is an heritable change of the base-pair sequence of genetic material
suitable example for prokaryotes
Suvetha Reply
one of the possible early sources of energy was
uv radiation and lighting
e coli is the example of prokaryotes
archaea too
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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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