First meeting of the working group complement system

The first meeting of the working group complement system („Arbeitskreis Komplementsystem“- AKKS) took place at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg on March 21, 2019. Christian Karsten and Jörg Köhl (Lübeck) organized the meeting as a platform for young and established scientists interested in complement research. The working group will be integrated in the German Society for Immunology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie (DGfI) who already supported the meeting. Thirty-five scientists from 13 different universities in Germany, Switzerland and Austria attended the meeting and used the opportunity to discuss their research as well as to continue and extend existing collaborations and initiate new ones. 

During the day, various aspects of complement research were presendete in five different sessions. In session I, the focus was on the function of intracellular complement, i.e. the complosome. Claudia Kemper (NIH / Lübeck) provided novel insights into the role of the complosome in cell metabolism. Diana Pauly (Regensburg) reported on the impact of the complosome on retinal epithelial cell function. In session II, Hubert Schrezenmeier, Miriam Kalbitz (Ulm) and Harald Langer (Lübeck) discussed several aspects of complement in the pathogenesis of heart disease, sepsis and paroxysmal nocturnal hematuria. Daniel Ricklin (Basel) added new insights into target-specific modulation of the complement system. Session III focused on novel functions of complement as an important defense system at mucosal surfaces of the intestine (Markus Huber-Lang, Ulm), the peritoneum (Christian Karsten, Lübeck), the lung (Kerstin Walter, Borstel) and the circulation (Steven Broadley, Lübeck). Faikah Güler (Hannover) reported novel roles of C5aR1/2 in kidney injury. In the 4thsession, Jörg Köhl and Yves Laumonnier reported on non-canonical functions of complement in allergic asthma. Christine Skerka (Jena) highlighted novel roles of complement in inflammation and necrosis. Christoph Schmidt provided new insights into C5 activation and its impact on thrombosis. Loek Willems from Hycult Biotech (Uden), a company with strong ties to and support of complement research, gave his company perspective and encouraged collaborations between industry and universities. In the final session, Anita Ignatius (Ulm) and Falk Nimmerjahn (Erlangen) showed new findings regarding the role of complement in bone homeostasis, inflammation and repair with a particular emphasis on trauma and arthritis. Ulrich Wenzel (Hamburg) and Peter Zipfel (Jena) presented new data demonstrating important functions of complement in renal diseases. Finally, Frank Petersen (Borstel) introduced the new concept of autoantibodies as regulators of complement receptors. 

At the end of the meeting the attendants voted for Christian Karsten (Lübeck) and Christoph Schmidt (Ulm) as the designated spokespersons of the AKKS that will be formally established at the 2ndJoint Meeting of the German Society for Immunology and the Italian Society of Immmunology, held in Munich from September 10-13, 2019. 

The busy day was rounded-off by a joint dinner, where all attendants agreed that the meeting was very informative, inspiring and a fantastic start for the AKKS.