Tuesday, 1 July 2008

What is the function of complement?

Complement refers to a system comprising of about 30 different types of proteins that plays a major part in the innate immune system. There's much more to be said about this system, but for now let's just assume you know about it, and simply answer the question. ;)

There are three main functions of complement:
  • Chemotaxis - complement 'lures' macrophages and polymorphs to sites of inflammation and infection.

  • Opsonisation - some of the complement proteins bind foreign antigens and simultaneously signal to phagocytes to engulf them.

  • Attack - parts of the complement system can form a membrane attack complex that bursts bacterial cells and damages viral envelopes.

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