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Protein ultrastructure and the nanoscience of complement activation

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  • Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Department of Molecular Biology
The complement system constitutes an important barrier to infection of the human body. Over more than four decades structural properties of the proteins of the complement system have been investigated with X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, small-angle scattering, and atomic force microscopy. Here, we review the accumulated evidence that the nm-scaled dimensions and conformational changes of these proteins support functions of the complement system with regard to tissue distribution, molecular crowding effects, avidity binding, and conformational regulation of complement activation. In the targeting of complement activation to the surfaces of nanoparticulate material, such as engineered nanoparticles or fragments of the microbial cell wall, these processes play intimately together. This way the complement system is an excellent example where nanoscience may serve to unravel the molecular biology of the immune response.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2011

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