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Microbes Infect. 1999 Aug;1(10):785-94.

Complement-resistance mechanisms of bacteria.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Despite more than a century of parallel research on bacteria and the complement system, relatively little is known of the mechanisms whereby pathogenic bacteria can escape complement-related opsonophagocytosis and direct killing. It is likely that pathogenicity in bacteria has arisen more accidentally than in viruses, and on the basis of selection from natural mutants rather than by outright stealing or copying of genetic codes from the host. In this review we will discuss complement resistance as one of the features that makes a bacterium a pathogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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