Complement Pathway, Alternative: Complement activation initiated by the interaction of microbial ANTIGENS with COMPLEMENT C3B. When COMPLEMENT FACTOR B binds to the membrane-bound C3b, COMPLEMENT FACTOR D cleaves it to form alternative C3 CONVERTASE (C3BBB) which, stabilized by COMPLEMENT FACTOR P, is able to cleave multiple COMPLEMENT C3 to form alternative C5 CONVERTASE (C3BBB3B) leading to cleavage of COMPLEMENT C5 and the assembly of COMPLEMENT MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX.Complement C3: A glycoprotein that is central in both the classical and the alternative pathway of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION. C3 can be cleaved into COMPLEMENT C3A and COMPLEMENT C3B, spontaneously at low level or by C3 CONVERTASE at high level. The smaller fragment C3a is an ANAPHYLATOXIN and mediator of local inflammatory process. The larger fragment C3b binds with C3 convertase to form C5 convertase.Serum Globulins: All blood proteins except albumin ( = SERUM ALBUMIN, which is not a globulin) and FIBRINOGEN (which is not in the serum). The serum globulins are subdivided into ALPHA-GLOBULINS; BETA-GLOBULINS; and GAMMA-GLOBULINS on the basis of their electrophoretic mobilities. (From Dorland, 28th ed)Complement C3 Convertase, Alternative Pathway: A serine protease that is the complex of COMPLEMENT C3B and COMPLEMENT FACTOR BB. It cleaves multiple COMPLEMENT C3 into COMPLEMENT C3A (anaphylatoxin) and COMPLEMENT C3B in the ALTERNATIVE COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION PATHWAY.Complement Factor B: A glycine-rich, heat-labile serum glycoprotein that contains a component of the C3 CONVERTASE ALTERNATE PATHWAY (C3bBb). Bb, a serine protease, is generated when factor B is cleaved by COMPLEMENT FACTOR D into Ba and Bb.Complement System Proteins: Serum glycoproteins participating in the host defense mechanism of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION that creates the COMPLEMENT MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX. Included are glycoproteins in the various pathways of complement activation (CLASSICAL COMPLEMENT PATHWAY; ALTERNATIVE COMPLEMENT PATHWAY; and LECTIN COMPLEMENT PATHWAY).Complement C3-C5 Convertases: Serine proteases that cleave COMPLEMENT C3 into COMPLEMENT C3A and COMPLEMENT C3B, or cleave COMPLEMENT C5 into COMPLEMENT C5A and COMPLEMENT C5B. These include the different forms of C3/C5 convertases in the classical and the alternative pathways of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION. Both cleavages take place at the C-terminal of an ARGININE residue.Complement Activation: The sequential activation of serum COMPLEMENT PROTEINS to create the COMPLEMENT MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX. Factors initiating complement activation include ANTIGEN-ANTIBODY COMPLEXES, microbial ANTIGENS, or cell surface POLYSACCHARIDES.Complement C4: A glycoprotein that is important in the activation of CLASSICAL COMPLEMENT PATHWAY. C4 is cleaved by the activated COMPLEMENT C1S into COMPLEMENT C4A and COMPLEMENT C4B.ZymosanComplement C3b: The larger fragment generated from the cleavage of COMPLEMENT C3 by C3 CONVERTASE. It is a constituent of the ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY C3 CONVERTASE (C3bBb), and COMPLEMENT C5 CONVERTASES in both the classical (C4b2a3b) and the alternative (C3bBb3b) pathway. C3b participates in IMMUNE ADHERENCE REACTION and enhances PHAGOCYTOSIS. It can be inactivated (iC3b) or cleaved by various proteases to yield fragments such as COMPLEMENT C3C; COMPLEMENT C3D; C3e; C3f; and C3g.Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup Y: Strains of Neisseria meningitidis which, in the United States, causes disease in mostly adults and the elderly. Serogroup Y strains are associated with PNEUMONIA.Complement C5: C5 plays a central role in both the classical and the alternative pathway of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION. C5 is cleaved by C5 CONVERTASE into COMPLEMENT C5A and COMPLEMENT C5B. The smaller fragment C5a is an ANAPHYLATOXIN and mediator of inflammatory process. The major fragment C5b binds to the membrane initiating the spontaneous assembly of the late complement components, C5-C9, into the MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX.Complement Factor D: A serum protein which is important in the ALTERNATIVE COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION PATHWAY. This enzyme cleaves the COMPLEMENT C3B-bound COMPLEMENT FACTOR B to form C3bBb which is ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY C3 CONVERTASE.Complement C2: A component of the CLASSICAL COMPLEMENT PATHWAY. C2 is cleaved by activated COMPLEMENT C1S into COMPLEMENT C2B and COMPLEMENT C2A. C2a, the COOH-terminal fragment containing a SERINE PROTEASE, combines with COMPLEMENT C4B to form C4b2a (CLASSICAL PATHWAY C3 CONVERTASE) and subsequent C4b2a3b (CLASSICAL PATHWAY C5 CONVERTASE).Complement C3b Inactivator Proteins: Endogenous proteins that inhibit or inactivate COMPLEMENT C3B. They include COMPLEMENT FACTOR H and COMPLEMENT FACTOR I (C3b/C4b inactivator). They cleave or promote the cleavage of C3b into inactive fragments, and thus are important in the down-regulation of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION and its cytolytic sequence.Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup A: Strains of Neisseria meningitidis responsible for most outbreaks of meningococcal disease in Western Europe and the United States in the first half of the 20th century. They continue to be a major cause of disease in Asia and Africa, and especially localized epidemics in Sub-Sahara Africa.Immunoelectrophoresis: A technique that combines protein electrophoresis and double immunodiffusion. In this procedure proteins are first separated by gel electrophoresis (usually agarose), then made visible by immunodiffusion of specific antibodies. A distinct elliptical precipitin arc results for each protein detectable by the antisera.Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup W-135: Strains of Neisseria meningitidis found mostly in Africa.Complement Factor H: An important soluble regulator of the alternative pathway of complement activation (COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION PATHWAY, ALTERNATIVE). It is a 139-kDa glycoprotein expressed by the liver and secreted into the blood. It binds to COMPLEMENT C3B and makes iC3b (inactivated complement 3b) susceptible to cleavage by COMPLEMENT FACTOR I. Complement factor H also inhibits the association of C3b with COMPLEMENT FACTOR B to form the C3bB proenzyme, and promotes the dissociation of Bb from the C3bBb complex (COMPLEMENT C3 CONVERTASE, ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY).Lipodystrophy: A collection of heterogenous conditions resulting from defective LIPID METABOLISM and characterized by ADIPOSE TISSUE atrophy. Often there is redistribution of body fat resulting in peripheral fat wasting and central adiposity. They include generalized, localized, congenital, and acquired lipodystrophy.Complement Inactivator Proteins: Serum proteins that negatively regulate the cascade process of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION. Uncontrolled complement activation and resulting cell lysis is potentially dangerous for the host. The complement system is tightly regulated by inactivators that accelerate the decay of intermediates and certain cell surface receptors.Complement C3 Nephritic Factor: An IgG autoantibody against the ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY C3 CONVERTASE, found in serum of patients with MESANGIOCAPILLARY GLOMERULONEPHRITIS. The binding of this autoantibody to C3bBb stabilizes the enzyme thus reduces the actions of C3b inactivators (COMPLEMENT FACTOR H; COMPLEMENT FACTOR I). This abnormally stabilized enzyme induces a continuous COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION and generation of C3b thereby promoting the assembly of MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX and cytolysis.Inulin: A starch found in the tubers and roots of many plants. Since it is hydrolyzable to FRUCTOSE, it is classified as a fructosan. It has been used in physiologic investigation for determination of the rate of glomerular function.Nephritis: Inflammation of any part of the KIDNEY.Immunoglobulin Gm Allotypes: Allelic variants of the gamma-immunoglobulin heavy chain (IMMUNOGLOBULIN GAMMA-CHAINS) encoded by ALLELES of IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAIN GENES.Glomerulonephritis: Inflammation of the renal glomeruli (KIDNEY GLOMERULUS) that can be classified by the type of glomerular injuries including antibody deposition, complement activation, cellular proliferation, and glomerulosclerosis. These structural and functional abnormalities usually lead to HEMATURIA; PROTEINURIA; HYPERTENSION; and RENAL INSUFFICIENCY.Hemolysis: The destruction of ERYTHROCYTES by many different causal agents such as antibodies, bacteria, chemicals, temperature, and changes in tonicity.Complement Membrane Attack Complex: A product of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION cascade, regardless of the pathways, that forms transmembrane channels causing disruption of the target CELL MEMBRANE and cell lysis. It is formed by the sequential assembly of terminal complement components (COMPLEMENT C5B; COMPLEMENT C6; COMPLEMENT C7; COMPLEMENT C8; and COMPLEMENT C9) into the target membrane. The resultant C5b-8-poly-C9 is the "membrane attack complex" or MAC.Complement C1: The first complement component to act in the activation of CLASSICAL COMPLEMENT PATHWAY. It is a calcium-dependent trimolecular complex made up of three subcomponents: COMPLEMENT C1Q; COMPLEMENT C1R; and COMPLEMENT C1S at 1:2:2 ratios. When the intact C1 binds to at least two antibodies (involving C1q), C1r and C1s are sequentially activated, leading to subsequent steps in the cascade of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION.Immunity: Nonsusceptibility to the invasive or pathogenic effects of foreign microorganisms or to the toxic effect of antigenic substances.Sulfoglycosphingolipids: GLYCOSPHINGOLIPIDS with a sulfate group esterified to one of the sugar groups.Complement Activating Enzymes: Enzymes that activate one or more COMPLEMENT PROTEINS in the complement system leading to the formation of the COMPLEMENT MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX, an important response in host defense. They are enzymes in the various COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION pathways.Beta-Globulins: Serum proteins with an electrophoretic mobility that falls between ALPHA-GLOBULINS and GAMMA-GLOBULINS.Enzyme Precursors: Physiologically inactive substances that can be converted to active enzymes.Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup C: Strains of Neisseria meningitidis responsible for most sporadic cases in teenagers and almost all outbreaks of disease in this age group. These strains are less common in infants.Snake Venoms: Solutions or mixtures of toxic and nontoxic substances elaborated by snake (Ophidia) salivary glands for the purpose of killing prey or disabling predators and delivered by grooved or hollow fangs. They usually contain enzymes, toxins, and other factors.EsterasesNeisseria meningitidis, Serogroup B: Strains of Neisseria meningitidis which are the most common ones causing infections or disease in infants. Serogroup B strains are isolated most frequently in sporadic cases, and are less common in outbreaks and epidemics.Immunodiffusion: Technique involving the diffusion of antigen or antibody through a semisolid medium, usually agar or agarose gel, with the result being a precipitin reaction.Protein Binding: The process in which substances, either endogenous or exogenous, bind to proteins, peptides, enzymes, protein precursors, or allied compounds. Specific protein-binding measures are often used as assays in diagnostic assessments.Complement C3a: The smaller fragment generated from the cleavage of complement C3 by C3 CONVERTASE. C3a, a 77-amino acid peptide, is a mediator of local inflammatory process. It induces smooth MUSCLE CONTRACTION, and HISTAMINE RELEASE from MAST CELLS and LEUKOCYTES. C3a is considered an anaphylatoxin along with COMPLEMENT C4A; COMPLEMENT C5A; and COMPLEMENT C5A, DES-ARGININE.Heparin Lyase: An enzyme of the isomerase class that catalyzes the eliminative cleavage of polysaccharides containing 1,4-linked D-glucuronate or L-iduronate residues and 1,4-alpha-linked 2-sulfoamino-2-deoxy-6-sulfo-D-glucose residues to give oligosaccharides with terminal 4-deoxy-alpha-D-gluc-4-enuronosyl groups at their non-reducing ends. (From Enzyme Nomenclature, 1992) EC 188.8.131.52.Immunologic Factors: Biologically active substances whose activities affect or play a role in the functioning of the immune system.Thrombospondin 1: An extracellular matrix glycoprotein from platelets and a variety of normal and transformed cells of both mesenchymal and epithelial origin. Thrombospondin-1 is believed to play a role in cell migration and proliferation, during embryogenesis and wound repair. Also, it has been studied for its use as a potential regulator of tumor growth and metastasis.Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic: A chronic, relapsing, inflammatory, and often febrile multisystemic disorder of connective tissue, characterized principally by involvement of the skin, joints, kidneys, and serosal membranes. It is of unknown etiology, but is thought to represent a failure of the regulatory mechanisms of the autoimmune system. The disease is marked by a wide range of system dysfunctions, an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and the formation of LE cells in the blood or bone marrow.Thrombospondins: A family of related, adhesive glycoproteins which are synthesized, secreted, and incorporated into the extracellular matrix of a variety of cells, including alpha granules of platelets following thrombin activation and endothelial cells. They interact with a number of BLOOD COAGULATION FACTORS and anticoagulant factors. Five distinct forms have been identified, thrombospondin 1, -2, -3, -4, and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). They are involved in cell adhesion, platelet aggregation, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, tumor metastasis, VASCULAR SMOOTH MUSCLE growth, and tissue repair.Edetic Acid: A chelating agent that sequesters a variety of polyvalent cations such as CALCIUM. It is used in pharmaceutical manufacturing and as a food additive.Complement C1q: A subcomponent of complement C1, composed of six copies of three polypeptide chains (A, B, and C), each encoded by a separate gene (C1QA; C1QB; C1QC). This complex is arranged in nine subunits (six disulfide-linked dimers of A and B, and three disulfide-linked homodimers of C). C1q has binding sites for antibodies (the heavy chain of IMMUNOGLOBULIN G or IMMUNOGLOBULIN M). The interaction of C1q and immunoglobulin activates the two proenzymes COMPLEMENT C1R and COMPLEMENT C1S, thus initiating the cascade of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION via the CLASSICAL COMPLEMENT PATHWAY.Escherichia coli K12: A species of gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria belonging to the K serogroup of ESCHERICHIA COLI. It lives as a harmless inhabitant of the human LARGE INTESTINE and is widely used in medical and GENETIC RESEARCH.Receptors, Complement: Molecules on the surface of some B-lymphocytes and macrophages, that recognize and combine with the C3b, C3d, C1q, and C4b components of complement.Chloromercuribenzoates: Chloride and mercury-containing derivatives of benzoic acid.Meningitis, Meningococcal: A fulminant infection of the meninges and subarachnoid fluid by the bacterium NEISSERIA MENINGITIDIS, producing diffuse inflammation and peri-meningeal venous thromboses. Clinical manifestations include FEVER, nuchal rigidity, SEIZURES, severe HEADACHE, petechial rash, stupor, focal neurologic deficits, HYDROCEPHALUS, and COMA. The organism is usually transmitted via nasopharyngeal secretions and is a leading cause of meningitis in children and young adults. Organisms from Neisseria meningitidis serogroups A, B, C, Y, and W-135 have been reported to cause meningitis. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, pp689-701; Curr Opin Pediatr 1998 Feb;10(1):13-8)Complement C5a: The minor fragment formed when C5 convertase cleaves C5 into C5a and COMPLEMENT C5B. C5a is a 74-amino-acid glycopeptide with a carboxy-terminal ARGININE that is crucial for its spasmogenic activity. Of all the complement-derived anaphylatoxins, C5a is the most potent in mediating immediate hypersensitivity (HYPERSENSITIVITY, IMMEDIATE), smooth MUSCLE CONTRACTION; HISTAMINE RELEASE; and migration of LEUKOCYTES to site of INFLAMMATION.Kidney Glomerulus: A cluster of convoluted capillaries beginning at each nephric tubule in the kidney and held together by connective tissue.Properdin: A 53-kDa protein that is a positive regulator of the alternate pathway of complement activation (COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION PATHWAY, ALTERNATIVE). It stabilizes the ALTERNATIVE PATHWAY C3 CONVERTASE (C3bBb) and protects it from rapid inactivation, thus facilitating the cascade of COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION and the formation of MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX. Individuals with mutation in the PFC gene exhibit properdin deficiency and have a high susceptibility to infections.Antigen-Antibody Complex: The complex formed by the binding of antigen and antibody molecules. The deposition of large antigen-antibody complexes leading to tissue damage causes IMMUNE COMPLEX DISEASES.Erythrocytes: Red blood cells. Mature erythrocytes are non-nucleated, biconcave disks containing HEMOGLOBIN whose function is to transport OXYGEN.Kidney Diseases: Pathological processes of the KIDNEY or its component tissues.PolysaccharidesProteinuria: The presence of proteins in the urine, an indicator of KIDNEY DISEASES.Pedigree: The record of descent or ancestry, particularly of a particular condition or trait, indicating individual family members, their relationships, and their status with respect to the trait or condition.Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of GONORRHEA.Opsonin Proteins: Proteins that bind to particles and cells to increase susceptibility to PHAGOCYTOSIS, especially ANTIBODIES bound to EPITOPES that attach to FC RECEPTORS. COMPLEMENT C3B may also participate.Immunoglobulins: Multi-subunit proteins which function in IMMUNITY. They are produced by B LYMPHOCYTES from the IMMUNOGLOBULIN GENES. They are comprised of two heavy (IMMUNOGLOBULIN HEAVY CHAINS) and two light chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN LIGHT CHAINS) with additional ancillary polypeptide chains depending on their isoforms. The variety of isoforms include monomeric or polymeric forms, and transmembrane forms (B-CELL ANTIGEN RECEPTORS) or secreted forms (ANTIBODIES). They are divided by the amino acid sequence of their heavy chains into five classes (IMMUNOGLOBULIN A; IMMUNOGLOBULIN D; IMMUNOGLOBULIN E; IMMUNOGLOBULIN G; IMMUNOGLOBULIN M) and various subclasses.Phagocytosis: The engulfing and degradation of microorganisms; other cells that are dead, dying, or pathogenic; and foreign particles by phagocytic cells (PHAGOCYTES).Glomerulonephritis, Membranous: A type of glomerulonephritis that is characterized by the accumulation of immune deposits (COMPLEMENT MEMBRANE ATTACK COMPLEX) on the outer aspect of the GLOMERULAR BASEMENT MEMBRANE. It progresses from subepithelial dense deposits, to basement membrane reaction and eventual thickening of the basement membrane.Immunoglobulin A: Represents 15-20% of the human serum immunoglobulins, mostly as the 4-chain polymer in humans or dimer in other mammals. Secretory IgA (IMMUNOGLOBULIN A, SECRETORY) is the main immunoglobulin in secretions.Immunoglobulin G: The major immunoglobulin isotype class in normal human serum. There are several isotype subclasses of IgG, for example, IgG1, IgG2A, and IgG2B.Magnesium: A metallic element that has the atomic symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24.31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in OXIDATIVE PHOSPHORYLATION.Serum: The clear portion of BLOOD that is left after BLOOD COAGULATION to remove BLOOD CELLS and clotting proteins.Immune Sera: Serum that contains antibodies. It is obtained from an animal that has been immunized either by ANTIGEN injection or infection with microorganisms containing the antigen.Electrophoresis, Disc: Electrophoresis in which discontinuities in both the voltage and pH gradients are introduced by using buffers of different composition and pH in the different parts of the gel column. The term 'disc' was originally used as an abbreviation for 'discontinuous' referring to the buffers employed, and does not have anything to do with the shape of the separated zones.Rabbits: The species Oryctolagus cuniculus, in the family Leporidae, order LAGOMORPHA. Rabbits are born in burrows, furless, and with eyes and ears closed. In contrast with HARES, rabbits have 22 chromosome pairs.X Chromosome: The female sex chromosome, being the differential sex chromosome carried by half the male gametes and all female gametes in human and other male-heterogametic species.Heparitin Sulfate: A heteropolysaccharide that is similar in structure to HEPARIN. It accumulates in individuals with MUCOPOLYSACCHARIDOSIS.Feedback: A mechanism of communication within a system in that the input signal generates an output response which returns to influence the continued activity or productivity of that system.Kidney Tubules, Proximal: The renal tubule portion that extends from the BOWMAN CAPSULE in the KIDNEY CORTEX into the KIDNEY MEDULLA. The proximal tubule consists of a convoluted proximal segment in the cortex, and a distal straight segment descending into the medulla where it forms the U-shaped LOOP OF HENLE.Guinea Pigs: A common name used for the genus Cavia. The most common species is Cavia porcellus which is the domesticated guinea pig used for pets and biomedical research.Fungi: A kingdom of eukaryotic, heterotrophic organisms that live parasitically as saprobes, including MUSHROOMS; YEASTS; smuts, molds, etc. They reproduce either sexually or asexually, and have life cycles that range from simple to complex. Filamentous fungi, commonly known as molds, refer to those that grow as multicellular colonies.Chromatography, Gel: Chromatography on non-ionic gels without regard to the mechanism of solute discrimination.Immunoglobulin M: A class of immunoglobulin bearing mu chains (IMMUNOGLOBULIN MU-CHAINS). IgM can fix COMPLEMENT. The name comes from its high molecular weight and originally being called a macroglobulin.Solubility: The ability of a substance to be dissolved, i.e. to form a solution with another substance. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)Fluorescent Antibody Technique: Test for tissue antigen using either a direct method, by conjugation of antibody with fluorescent dye (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, DIRECT) or an indirect method, by formation of antigen-antibody complex which is then labeled with fluorescein-conjugated anti-immunoglobulin antibody (FLUORESCENT ANTIBODY TECHNIQUE, INDIRECT). The tissue is then examined by fluorescence microscopy.Sheep: Any of the ruminant mammals with curved horns in the genus Ovis, family Bovidae. They possess lachrymal grooves and interdigital glands, which are absent in GOATS.Genes: A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay: An immunoassay utilizing an antibody labeled with an enzyme marker such as horseradish peroxidase. While either the enzyme or the antibody is bound to an immunosorbent substrate, they both retain their biologic activity; the change in enzyme activity as a result of the enzyme-antibody-antigen reaction is proportional to the concentration of the antigen and can be measured spectrophotometrically or with the naked eye. Many variations of the method have been developed.Amino Acid Sequence: The order of amino acids as they occur in a polypeptide chain. This is referred to as the primary structure of proteins. It is of fundamental importance in determining PROTEIN CONFORMATION.Lipopolysaccharides: Lipid-containing polysaccharides which are endotoxins and important group-specific antigens. They are often derived from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria and induce immunoglobulin secretion. The lipopolysaccharide molecule consists of three parts: LIPID A, core polysaccharide, and O-specific chains (O ANTIGENS). When derived from Escherichia coli, lipopolysaccharides serve as polyclonal B-cell mitogens commonly used in laboratory immunology. (From Dorland, 28th ed)Glycoproteins: Conjugated protein-carbohydrate compounds including mucins, mucoid, and amyloid glycoproteins.Binding Sites: The parts of a macromolecule that directly participate in its specific combination with another molecule.Skin: The outer covering of the body that protects it from the environment. It is composed of the DERMIS and the EPIDERMIS.Enzyme Stability: The extent to which an enzyme retains its structural conformation or its activity when subjected to storage, isolation, and purification or various other physical or chemical manipulations, including proteolytic enzymes and heat.Neutrophils: Granular leukocytes having a nucleus with three to five lobes connected by slender threads of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing fine inconspicuous granules and stainable by neutral dyes.Polymorphism, Genetic: The regular and simultaneous occurrence in a single interbreeding population of two or more discontinuous genotypes. The concept includes differences in genotypes ranging in size from a single nucleotide site (POLYMORPHISM, SINGLE NUCLEOTIDE) to large nucleotide sequences visible at a chromosomal level.Kinetics: The rate dynamics in chemical or physical systems.Immunity, Innate: The capacity of a normal organism to remain unaffected by microorganisms and their toxins. It results from the presence of naturally occurring ANTI-INFECTIVE AGENTS, constitutional factors such as BODY TEMPERATURE and immediate acting immune cells such as NATURAL KILLER CELLS.Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel: Electrophoresis in which a polyacrylamide gel is used as the diffusion medium.Epithelial Cells: Cells that line the inner and outer surfaces of the body by forming cellular layers (EPITHELIUM) or masses. Epithelial cells lining the SKIN; the MOUTH; the NOSE; and the ANAL CANAL derive from ectoderm; those lining the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM and the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM derive from endoderm; others (CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM and LYMPHATIC SYSTEM) derive from mesoderm. Epithelial cells can be classified mainly by cell shape and function into squamous, glandular and transitional epithelial cells.Polymerase Chain Reaction: In vitro method for producing large amounts of specific DNA or RNA fragments of defined length and sequence from small amounts of short oligonucleotide flanking sequences (primers). The essential steps include thermal denaturation of the double-stranded target molecules, annealing of the primers to their complementary sequences, and extension of the annealed primers by enzymatic synthesis with DNA polymerase. The reaction is efficient, specific, and extremely sensitive. Uses for the reaction include disease diagnosis, detection of difficult-to-isolate pathogens, mutation analysis, genetic testing, DNA sequencing, and analyzing evolutionary relationships.Temperature: The property of objects that determines the direction of heat flow when they are placed in direct thermal contact. The temperature is the energy of microscopic motions (vibrational and translational) of the particles of atoms.Mice, Inbred C57BLBase Sequence: The sequence of PURINES and PYRIMIDINES in nucleic acids and polynucleotides. It is also called nucleotide sequence.Escherichia coli: A species of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria (GRAM-NEGATIVE FACULTATIVELY ANAEROBIC RODS) commonly found in the lower part of the intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is usually nonpathogenic, but some strains are known to produce DIARRHEA and pyogenic infections. Pathogenic strains (virotypes) are classified by their specific pathogenic mechanisms such as toxins (ENTEROTOXIGENIC ESCHERICHIA COLI), etc.Models, Biological: Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of biological processes or diseases. For disease models in living animals, DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL is available. Biological models include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.Rats, Wistar: A strain of albino rat developed at the Wistar Institute that has spread widely at other institutions. This has markedly diluted the original strain.Mice, Knockout: Strains of mice in which certain GENES of their GENOMES have been disrupted, or "knocked-out". To produce knockouts, using RECOMBINANT DNA technology, the normal DNA sequence of the gene being studied is altered to prevent synthesis of a normal gene product. Cloned cells in which this DNA alteration is successful are then injected into mouse EMBRYOS to produce chimeric mice. The chimeric mice are then bred to yield a strain in which all the cells of the mouse contain the disrupted gene. Knockout mice are used as EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL MODELS for diseases (DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL) and to clarify the functions of the genes.