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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An enormous body of work has contributed to the knowledge of the complement system and viral interactions with the complement system. With that said, we acknowledge the research that was not specifically mentioned in this review. We thank Michelle Davis for her essential and outstanding contributions to the figures in this review. This work was supported by NIH/NIAID research grant K22 AI079163 awarded to T.E.M. K.A.S. was supported by the predoctoral NIH institutional training grant T32 AI052066 .