Complement Proteins Animation




Formation of membrane attack complexes. Complement proteins can activate when they bind to antibodies that are bound to a pathogen. Complement proteins also activate when they bind directly to bacterial surfaces. Cascading reactions yield huge numbers of different types of complement proteins. Some of these are assembled into molecules that form membrane attack complexes. Attack complexes are inserted into the plasma membrane or lipid envelope of the target and form large pores. The pores induce lysis—gross structural disruption of the plasma membrane or cell wall. This leads to the death of the pathogen.



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