Humoral Innate Immune Effector Responses

  • Walter Gottlieb Land


In this chapter, components from the humoral arm of the innate immune system are addressed which—in terms of a crosstalk—must remain in a delicate balance to cellular components to ensure efficient detection and response to both infectious and sterile cell stress/tissue injury. Emphasis is put on the description of the prototypical complement system that operates together with its co-players, collectins, ficolins, and pentraxins. The activation of the complement system via the three convergent pathways, the classical pathway, the lectin pathway, and the alternative pathway, is described by focusing on the molecular and structural basis of activation and regulation of these three complement pathways. Some typical mechanisms involved in the three cascades are reviewed by especially alluding to the formation of C3 and C5 convertases, the action of anaphylatoxins, the membrane attack complex, the role of complement receptors, and a crosstalk between complement and other cellular pattern recognition molecules. A particular subchapter is devoted to pentraxins which, as “antibody-like molecules,” may be regarded as ancestors of antibodies determined to have a rather regulatory function on inflammation. A final subchapter deals with antimicrobial peptides such as defensins, cathelicidins, and histatins. As products of activated cells of the innate immune system, they participate in the first line of host defense against pathogenic infections and can also be regarded as key components of the ancient innate immune system. There is increasing interest in these substances, in terms of “nature’s antibiotics” because they show promise in overcoming the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of StrasbourgMolecular ImmunoRheumatology, Laboratory of Excellence TransplantexStrasbourgFrance

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