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Mol Immunol. 2005 Feb;42(2):153-60.

Complement-opsonized HIV: the free rider on its way to infection.

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Institute of Hygiene and Social Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Fritz-Pregl-Strasse 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


The complement system (C) is one of the main humoral components of innate immunity. Three major tasks of C against invading pathogens are: (i) lysis of pathogens by the formation of the membrane attack complex (MAC); (ii) opsonization of pathogens with complement fragments to favor phagocytosis; and (iii) attraction of inflammatory cells by chemotaxis. Like other particles, HIV activates C and becomes opsonized. To escape complement-mediated lysis, HIV has adopted various properties, which include the acquisition of HIV-associated molecules (HAMs) belonging to the family of complement regulators, such as CD46, CD55, CD59, and the interaction with humoral regulatory factors like factor H (fH). Opsonized virus may bind to complement receptor positive cells to infect them more efficiently or to remain bound on the surface of such cells. In the latter case HIV can be transmitted to cells susceptible for infection. This review discusses several aspects of C-HIV interactions and provides a model for the dynamics of this process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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