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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Oct 26;96(22):12708-12.

Humoral response to herpes simplex virus is complement-dependent.

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Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The complement system represents a cascade of serum proteins, which provide a major effector function in innate immunity. Recent studies have revealed that complement links innate and adaptive immunity via complement receptors CD21/CD35 in that it enhances the B cell memory response to noninfectious protein antigens introduced i.v. To examine the importance of complement for immune responses to virus infection in a peripheral tissue, we compared the B cell memory response of mice deficient in complement C3, C4, or CD21/CD35 with wild-type controls. We found that the deficient mice failed to generate a normal memory response, which is characterized by a reduction in IgG antibody and germinal centers. Thus, complement is important not only in the effector function of innate immunity but also in the stimulation of memory B cell responses to viral-infected cell antigens in both blood and peripheral tissues.

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