During the last decade, the complement field has experienced outstanding advancements in the mechanistic understanding of how complement activators are recognized, what C3 activation means, how protein complexes like the C3 convertases and the membrane attack complex are assembled, and how positive and negative complement regulators perform their function. All of this has been made possible mostly because of the contributions of structural biology to the study of the complement components. The wealth of novel structural data has frequently provided support to previously held knowledge, but often has added alternative and unexpected insights into complement function. Here, we will review some of these findings focusing in the alternative and terminal complement pathways.
Keywords: C3\C5 convertase; Complement; Complement regulators; Factor H; Membrane attack complex; Structural biology.