Activation of the Lectin Pathway

The lectin pathway is activated by the interaction of various microbial carbohydrates such as mannose, fucose, N-acetylglucosamine (NAG), lipoteichoic acids, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) with mannose-binding lectin (MBL) or ficolins which forms complexes with two proteases called MASP1 and MASP2 in the plasma. (Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins.) The binding of the MBL (or the ficolin) to the microbial carbohydrate activates the associated MASP2 giving it the enzymatic activity to split C4 into C4a and C4b, as well as C2 into C2a and C2b.

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