what is the function of C-reactive protein in the human in biochemistry point of view?
- YLv 55 years agoFavorite Answer
CRP is an inflammation marker.
As its name suggests, it's a protein that is synthesised by ribosomes from specific genes.
The main function of CRP is in innate immunity (which consists of cellular and humoral immunities). When there is an invasion by pathogens of the body, the cells involved in cellular immunity (e.g. macrophages) recognise foreign antigens on these pathogens. As a result, they trigger the release of inflammatory molecules such as Interleukins. The release of interleukins cause the release of CRP. Simply put, infection causes inflammation, inflammation causes release of CRP. So an elevated CRP in the blood signifies an inflammatory process in the body.
CRP after being released in response to inflammatory molecules, binds to a certain molcule called phosphocoline. Phosphocoline is located on the cell membrane of pathogenic cells (e.g. bacterial cells - which cause the inflammatory response) and also damaged and dead cells.
So when CRP binds to phosphocholine on aforementioned cells, it bascially enhances the complement system. The complement system is system belonging to the cellular immunity pathway. The complement system involves small molecules (which are normally inactive proteins i.e. pro-proteins, that are activated by protease cleavage) circulating in the blood. These small molecules when activated, bind to pathogenic and damaged cell membranes, thus causing opsonisation (i.e.tagging these cells for phagocytosis) and chemotaxis (attracting phagocytic cells to the pathogenic and damaged cells).
Infection by pathogen ----> causes inflammation----> inflammation causes release of inflammatory molecules (interleukins and cytokines)------> inflammatory molecules cause release of CRP (CRP levels shoot up in the blood = sign of inflammation) ------> Increased CRP enhances complement system -----> enhanced complement system leads to enhanced phagocytosis of pathogenic cells.