New insights into the immune functions of complement

Nat Rev Immunol. 2019 Aug;19(8):503-516. doi: 10.1038/s41577-019-0168-x.


The recognition of microbial or danger-associated molecular patterns by complement proteins initiates a cascade of events that culminates in the activation of surface complement receptors on immune cells. Such signalling pathways converge with those activated downstream of pattern recognition receptors to determine the type and magnitude of the immune response. Intensive investigation in the field has uncovered novel pathways that link complement-mediated signalling with homeostatic and pathological T cell responses. More recently, the observation that complement proteins also act in the intracellular space to shape T cell fates has added a new layer of complexity. Here, we consider fundamental mechanisms and novel concepts at the interface of complement biology and immunity and discuss how these affect the maintenance of homeostasis and the development of human pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Complement Activation
  • Complement Pathway, Alternative
  • Complement System Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Receptors, Complement / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology


  • Receptors, Complement
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Complement System Proteins