The interaction of the purified C1q component of human C with synchronized, quiescent human gingival fibroblasts was investigated, and the presence of a specific binding site was demonstrated. Quantitative binding studies with radioiodinated C1q showed that binding was specific, saturable, and reversible upon addition of unlabeled C1q or by increasing the salt concentration. Scatchard plot analysis of the data yielded an affinity constant of 2 X 10(7) M-1 for all cell strains examined. The capacity for C1q binding varied among the eight cell strains examined. The number of binding sites per cell ranged from 2.6 to 17.7 X 10(6) with an average of 8.4 X 10(6). The receptor was insensitive to trypsin digestion, and it bound the collagen-like portion of the C1q molecule. Specific immunofluorescence staining showed that virtually all the viable cultured fibroblasts were able to bind added C1q. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated a spectrum of fluorescence intensity among the cell strains, and there was a positive correlation between fluorescence intensity and the number of binding sites detected by using radiolabeled C1q.

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