Role of Complement in HIV and SIV Pathogenesis and Immunity

  • D. C. Montefiori
Conference paper


The complement system is comprised of a group of proteins and receptors that mediate inflammation and play an important role in phagocytosis and lysis of microorganisms (Muller-Eberhard 1988). To defend against virus infection, activated fragments of complement component C3 (i.e., C3b, C3dg, C3d) become deposited on the virus surface, which then target the virus for clearance through the mononuclear phagocytic system (Frank and Fries 1991). Alternatively, complement activation may lead to assembly of the membrane attack complex (MAC) of complement on the virus surface, causing virus neutralization by lysis (Hirsch 1982). Complement may be directly activated by surface epitopes that impair the ability of factor H to negatively control amplification of the alternative complement pathway through C3b,Bb convertase (Fearon 1978; Pangburn et al. 1980). This type of complement activation can be blocked by sialylation of carbohydrate moieties found on the virus surface (Fearon 1978). Complement may also be activated by the Fc region of antibodies bound to the virus surface (Schumaker et al. 1976).


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Simian Immunodeficiency Virus 
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© Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

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  • D. C. Montefiori

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