Summary Phagocytosis, an important mechanism of the host‐defence system and a primary function of macrophages, is facilitated by opsonization, a process by which serum components tag pathogens for recognition by neutrophils and macrophages. Complement component C3 is central to opsonization. Its first cleavage product, C3b, forms the multisubunit enzyme, C3bBb, which proteolytically cleaves additional C3 molecules on the pathogen surface. C3b is further degraded to iC3b, C3c and C3dg, products that serve as ligands for selective complement receptors on leukocytes. This receptor–ligand interaction subsequently modulates immune responses or directly targets the pathogen for clearance by phagocytosis. Although a central role for C3 in phagocytosis of certain pathogens is well accepted, the receptors orchestrating the phagocytic response have not been well characterized. The recent structures of C3 and its breakdown products have increased our insights into the molecular basis of complement activation and recognition by their receptors. Here we review the biology of macrophage receptors for C3 fragments and discuss their role in the host response to pathogens.
Cellular Microbiology – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2007
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