PTX3 as a paradigm for the interaction of pentraxins with the complement system

Semin Immunol. 2013 Feb;25(1):79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


Pentraxins are highly conserved components of the humoral arm of innate immunity. They include the short pentraxins C reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P component (SAP), and the long pentraxin PTX3. These are soluble pattern-recognition molecules that are present in the blood and body fluids, and share the ability to recognize pathogens and promote their disposal. CRP and SAP are produced systemically in the liver while PTX3 is produced locally in a number of tissues, macrophages and neutrophils being major sources of this long pentraxin. Pentraxins interact with components of the classical and lectin pathways of Complement as well as with Complement regulators. In particular, PTX3 recognizes C1q, factor H, MBL and ficolins, where these interactions amplify the repertoire of microbial recognition and effector functions of the Complement system. The complex interaction of pentraxins with the Complement system at different levels has broad implications for host defence and regulation of inflammation.

Keywords: Complement; PTX3; Pentraxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / immunology
  • Animals
  • C-Reactive Protein / immunology*
  • Complement Activation*
  • Complement System Proteins / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology*
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / immunology*


  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component
  • PTX3 protein
  • Complement System Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein