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Molecular cell biology of complement membrane attack

Morgan, Bryan Paul, Boyd, Courtney and Bubeck, Doryen 2017. Molecular cell biology of complement membrane attack. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology

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The membrane attack complex (MAC) is the pore-forming toxin of the complement system, a relatively early evolutionary acquisition that confers upon complement the capacity to directly kill pathogens. The MAC is more than just a bactericidal missile, having the capacity when formed on self-cells to initiate a host of cell activation events that can have profound consequences for tissue homeostasis in the face of infection or injury. Although the capacity of complement to directly kill pathogens has been recognised for over a century, and the pore-forming killing mechanism for at least 50 years, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding precisely how MAC mediates its killing and cell activation activities. A recent burst of new information on MAC structure provides context and opportunity to re-assess the ways in which MAC kills bacteria and modulates cell functions. In this brief review we will describe key aspects of MAC evolution, function and structure and seek to use the new structural information to better explain how the MAC works.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1084-9521
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 July 2017
Date of Acceptance: 14 June 2017
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2018 23:52

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