Membrane Attack Complex: The Process and Importance of Cell Lysis in the Immune System

The membrane attack complex kills cells by

creating holes in cell membranes

The membrane attack complex (MAC) is a group of proteins that form pores in the membranes of cells. When a MAC forms on a cell, it creates a hole in the cell membrane that allows important molecules and ions to leak out. This loss of critical substances disrupts the cell’s function and ultimately leads to its death.

The MAC works by assembling itself on the surface of the cell membrane and creating a channel through the membrane. The channel formed by the MAC allows water to flow into the cell, causing it to swell and eventually burst. This process is known as cell lysis, which results in the death of the targeted cell.

The MAC is an important part of the immune system and is activated in response to invading bacteria and viruses. It is produced by the complement system, which is a group of proteins that helps to identify and destroy foreign substances in the body. While useful in fighting infections, the MAC can also cause damage to healthy cells if it is not regulated properly.

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