The plasma protein properdin is the only known positive regulator of complement activation. Although regarded as an initiator of the alternative pathway of complement activation at the time of its discovery more than a half century ago, the role and mechanism of action of properdin in the complement cascade has undergone significant conceptual evolution since then. Despite the long history of research on properdin, however, new insight and unexpected findings on the role of properdin in complement activation, pathogen infection and host tissue injury are still being revealed by ongoing investigations. In this article, we provide a brief review on recent studies that shed new light on properdin biology, focusing on the following three topics: (1) its role as a pattern recognition molecule to direct and trigger complement activation, (2) its context-dependent requirement in complement activation on foreign and host cell surfaces, and (3) its involvement in alternative pathway complement-mediated immune disorders and considerations of properdin as a potential therapeutic target in human diseases.
Keywords: Alternative pathway; C3 glomerulopathy; Complement therapeutics; Properdin.
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