Cell Biology

A Conserved Complement Collector

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Science  31 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5769, pp. 1836
DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5769.1836b

The complement system is important in the clearance of circulating pathogens; component C3 reacts with bacterial surfaces and promotes their binding to phagocytic cells that then internalize and destroy the bacteria. Some of the key players in clearing complement-coated pathogens are the Kupffer cells, a class of macrophages that reside in the liver.

Helmy et al. have identified a receptor present in Kupffer cells, the complement receptor of the immunoglobulin family (CRIg), which is required for the efficient binding and phagocytosis of complement-coated pathogens. Mice lacking CRIg were unable to clear complement-coated pathogens from the circulation and were more likely to succumb to infection. Thus, CRIg, which is conserved in mice and humans, represents a critical component of the innate immune system allowing the liver to act as a sentinel to invasion by pathogens. — SMH

Cell 124, 915 (2006).

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