C4b-binding protein (C4BP) is a fluid-phase complement inhibitor that prevents uncontrolled activation of the classical and lectin complement pathways. As a complement inhibitor, C4BP also promotes apoptotic cell death and is hijacked by microbes and tumors for complement evasion. Although initially characterized for its role in complement inhibition, there is an emerging recognition that C4BP functions in a complement-independent manner to promote cell survival, protect against autoimmune damage, and modulate the virulence of microbial pathogens. In this Brief Review, we summarize the structure and functions of human C4BP, with a special focus on activities that extend beyond the canonical role of C4BP in complement inhibition.

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