Complement, a fast-moving field, represented at the AAI and ATS

Complement plays critical roles in the innate defense against common pathogens. Our knowledge of the complement system has markedly expanded over the past few years. Novel findings in complement research were recently discussed within the symposium: ‘Acute and Chronic Inflammation’ during the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) in San Diego held on May 9-13, 2019. The recently founded DGfI working group “Complement system” (AKKS) was represented by Jörg Köhl (Lübeck), who reported on non-canonical functions of the complement in inflammatory diseases. In addition, Claudia Kemper (NIH / Lübeck), who chaired the session together with Michael C. Carroll (Boston), added new insights into an unexpected key role for the complosome in cell metabolism. The great interest in complement research was also demonstrated by Andrea Tenner (Irivine), who presented a talk entitled “Complement: primitive yet powerful–new discoveries in immunity and the nervous system” as one of three AAI Distinguished lecturesselected by the program committee. Within the AAI workshop ‘Back to School: A Review of Four Fast-Moving Fields’, Joshua Thurman (Colorado) presented his view on the complement system as an old dog with new tricks.

In addition to the AAI, hot topics in complement research were discussed at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Conference in Dallas, Texas, which was held on May 17-22, 2019. Jörg Köhl together with Hrishikesh Kulkarni (Saint Louis) and Ragini Vittal (Michigan) chaired a symposium on “Complement as a Novel Target to Mitigate Lung Disease”. Emerging concepts were presented detailing how complement affects fundamental biological processes and modulates lung inflammation. Hrishikesh Kulkarni discussed new roles of thecomplement system beyond its role as an orchestrator of pulmonary inflammation. He pointed out that researchers are increasingly seeing various complement proteins in the large-scale transcriptomic and proteomic analyses for different lung diseases and model systems. Jörg Köhl discussed novel anaphylatoxin receptor reporter models as tools to delineate the role of complement in pulmonary tolerance and allergic asthma. Ragini Vittal reported on complement regulatory proteins as novel therapeutic molecules to combat pulmonary fibrosis. 

Taken together, the selection of complement as a topic in a major session of the AAI, the leading annual all-immunology event worldwide and ATS, one of the largest conferences on pulmonary diseases with more than 14.000 attendants,highlights the perception of complement as an important (re)emerging field in Immunology and Pulmonary Diseases.