Activation of C5 by a C5 convertase initiates the spontaneous assembly of the late complement components, C5-C9, into the membrane attack complex. C5b has a transient binding site for C6. The C5b-C6 complex is the foundation upon which the lytic complex is assembled. Derived from proteolytic degradation of complement C5, C5 anaphylatoxin is a mediator of local inflammatory process. It induces the contraction of smooth muscle, increases vascular permeability and causes histamine release from mast cells and basophilic leukocytes. C5a also stimulates the locomotion of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (chemokinesis) and direct their migration toward sites of inflammation (chemotaxis).
Defects in C5 are the cause of complement component 5 deficiency (C5D) [MIM:609536]. A rare defect of the complement classical pathway associated with susceptibility to severe recurrent infections, predominantly by Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Neisseria meningitidis. Note=An association study of C5 haplotypes and genotypes in individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus infection shows that individuals homozygous for the C5_1 haplotype have a significantly higher stage of liver fibrosis than individuals carrying at least 1 other allele (PubMed:15995705).