Authors: Rooijakkers SH(1), van Strijp JA.

The human complement system is elemental to recognize bacteria, opsonize them for handling by phagocytes, or kill them by direct lysis. However, successful bacterial pathogens have in turn evolved ingenious strategies to overcome this part of the immune system. In this review we discuss the different stages of complement activation sequentially and illustrate the immune evasion strategies that various bacteria have developed to evade each subsequent step. The focus is on bacterial proteins, either surface-bound or excreted, that block complement activation. The underlying molecular mechanism of action and the possible role in pathophysiology of bacterial infections are discussed.