The complement system is an evolutionarily ancient key component of innate immunity required for the detection and removal of invading pathogens. It was discovered more than 100 years ago and was originally defined as a liver-derived, blood-circulating sentinel system that classically mediates the opsonization and lytic killing of dangerous microbes and the initiation of the general inflammatory reaction. More recently, complement has also emerged as a critical player in adaptive immunity via its ability to instruct both B and T cell responses. In particular, work on the impact of complement on T cell responses led to the surprising discoveries that the complement system also functions within cells and is involved in regulating basic cellular processes, predominantly those of metabolic nature. Here, we review current knowledge about complement's role in T cell biology, with a focus on the novel intracellular and noncanonical activities of this ancient system.


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