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Neisseria meningitidis is a human-adapted pathogen that causes meningitis and sepsis worldwide. N. meningitidis factor H-binding protein (fHbp) provides a mechanism for immune evasion by binding human complement factor H (CFH) to protect it from complement-mediated killing. Here, we discuss features of fHbp which enable it to engage human CFH (hCFH), and the regulation of fHbp expression. Studies of host susceptibility and bacterial genome-wide association studies (GWAS) highlight the importance of the interaction between fHbp and CFH and other complement factors, such as CFHR3, on the development of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). Understanding the basis of fHbp:CFH interactions has also informed the design of next-generation vaccines as fHbp is a protective antigen. Structure-informed refinement of fHbp vaccines will help to combat the threat posed by the meningococcus, and accelerate the elimination of IMD.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Microbiol

Publication Date



CFHR, GWAS, Neisseria meningitidis, complement factor H, fHbp, vaccines