Fig. 4: Cleavage of C3 by C3 Convertase during the Classical Complement Pathway

The C4b2a functions as a C3 convertase that can enzymatically cleave hundreds of molecules of C3 into C3a and C3b. C3b, and to a lesser extent C4b, attaches antigens to phagocytes for opsonization (enhanced attachment). One portion of the C3b binds to proteins and polysaccharides on microbial surfaces; another portion binds to CR1 receptors on phagocytes, B-lymphocytes, and dendritic cells. This results in improved phagocytosis. C3a can promote inflammatory responses that enable body defense cells and defense chemicals to leave the blood and enter the tissues.

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