Complement--tapping into new sites and effector systems

Nat Rev Immunol. 2014 Dec;14(12):811-20. doi: 10.1038/nri3761. Epub 2014 Nov 14.


Complement is traditionally known to be a system of serum proteins that provide protection against pathogens through direct cell lysis and the mobilization of innate and adaptive immunity. However, recent work indicates that the complement system has additional physiological roles beyond those in host defence. In this Opinion article, we describe the new modes and locations of complement activation that enable it to interact with other cell effector systems, such as growth factor receptors, inflammasomes and metabolic pathways. We propose that the location of complement activation dictates its function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Complement Activation / immunology*
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Inflammasomes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Complement / immunology*
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / immunology
  • Receptors, Notch / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Inflammasomes
  • Receptors, Complement
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Complement System Proteins