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Trends Parasitol. 2004 Sep;20(9):407-12.

Parasite interaction with host complement: beyond attack regulation.

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University Hospital Basel, Department of Research 414, Hebelstrasse 20, Basel CH-4031, Switzerland.


Many orthologous proteins of known mammalian receptors have been discovered in parasites. Besides disguising the parasite as self in terms of the host immune system, evidence is accumulating that these receptors link to signalling pathways in parasites that appear to be involved in their growth or development. Recently, several proteins of the host complement system, which forms part of the innate defence against invading microorganisms, have been shown to possess alternative functions. These complement proteins interact with signalling pathways involved in early development and differentiation, as well as organ and tissue regeneration. By altering cellular interactions and responses, complement is being shown to have novel roles besides the originally described inflammatory role. The possibility exists that, as for other host factors interacting with parasites and affecting their growth or development, host complement proteins could also have such an influence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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