Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 May;2(5):346-53.

Evolution of the lectin-complement pathway and its role in innate immunity.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


Discrimination between self and non-self by lectins (carbohydrate-binding proteins) is a strategy of innate immunity that is found in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In vertebrates, immune recognition mediated by ficolins (lectins that consist of a fibrinogen-like and a collagen-like domain), as well as by mannose-binding lectins, triggers the activation of the complement system, which results in the activation of novel serine proteases. The presence of a similar lectin-based complement system in ascidians, our closest invertebrate relatives, indicates that the complement system probably had a pivotal role in innate immunity before the evolution of an adaptive immune system in jawed vertebrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center