The innate recognition of fungal pathogens is a crucial first step in the induction of protective antifungal immunity. Complement is thought to be one key component in this process, facilitating fungal recognition and inducing early inflammation. However, the roles of the individual complement components have not been examined extensively. Here we have used mice lacking C3 to examine its role in immunity to opportunistic fungal pathogens and show that this complement component is essential for resistance to infections with Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. We demonstrate that the absence of C3 impairs fungal clearance but does not affect inflammatory responses. We also show that the presence of C3 contributes to mortality in mice challenged with very high doses of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, although these effects were found to be mouse strain dependent. Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.