Complement is a network of soluble and cell surface-associated proteins that gives rise to a self-amplifying, yet tightly regulated system with fundamental roles in immune surveillance and clearance. Complement becomes activated on the surface of nonself cells by one of three initiating mechanisms known as the classical, lectin, and alternative pathways. Evasion of complement function is a hallmark of invasive pathogens and hematophagous organisms. Although many complement-inhibition strategies hinge on hijacking activities of endogenous complement regulatory proteins, an increasing number of uniquely evolved evasion molecules have been discovered over the past decade. In this review, we focus on several recent investigations that revealed mechanistically distinct inhibitors of the classical pathway. Because the classical pathway is an important and specific mediator of various autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, in-depth knowledge of novel evasion mechanisms could direct future development of therapeutic anti-inflammatory molecules.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.