Membrane attack by complement

Eckhard R. Podack, Jurg Tschopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Membrane attack by complement involves the self-assembly on membranes of five hydrophilic proteins (C5b, C6, C7, C8 and C9) to an amphiphilic tubular complex comprising approximately 20 subunits. The hydrophilic-amphiphilic transition of the precursor proteins is achieved by restricted unfolding and exposure of previously hidden hydrophobic domains. Restricted unfolding, in turn, is driven by high-affinity protein-protein interactions resulting in the formation of amphilic complexes. Circular polymerization of C9 to a tubular complex (poly C9) constitutes the molecular mechanism for transmembrane channel assembly and formation of ultrastructural membrane lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-603
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


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