The complement system functions as an immune surveillance system that rapidly responds to infection. Activation of the complement system by specific recognition pathways triggers a protease cascade, generating cleavage products that function to eliminate pathogens, regulate inflammatory responses, and shape adaptive immune responses. However, when dysregulated, these powerful functions can become destructive and the complement system has been implicated as a pathogenic effector in numerous diseases, including infectious diseases. This review highlights recent discoveries that have identified critical roles for the complement system in the pathogenesis of viral infection.
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