Humoral Pattern Recognition Molecules: Mannan-Binding Lectin and Ficolins

  • Steffen Thiel
  • Mihaela Gadjeva
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 653)


Innate immunity comprises a sophisticated network of molecules, which recognize pathogens, and effector molecules, working together to establish a quick and efficient immune response to infectious agents. Complement activation triggered by mannan binding lectin (MBL) or ficolins represents a beautiful example of this network. Both MBL and ficolins recognize specific chemical structures on the surface of antigens and pathogens, thus bind to a broad variety of pathogens. Once bound further complement deposition is achieved through a cascade of proteolytic reactions. MBL and ficolin induced complement activation is critical for adequate anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral responses. This is well illustrated by numerous and convincing studies that demonstrate associations between MBL deficiency and infections. Recent work has also highlighted that MBL and ficolins recognize self-structures, thus extending the role of these molecules beyond the traditional view of first line defense molecules. It appears that MBL deficiency may modulate the prognosis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. What is known about the mechanisms behind this broad scope of activities of MBL and ficolins is discussed in this chapter.


Lectin Pathway Carbohydrate Recognition Domain Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis Pattern Recognition Molecule Lectin Complement Pathway 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Thiel
    • 1
  • Mihaela Gadjeva
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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