The structural and functional relations between the alpha- and beta-subunits of the human lymphocyte function-associated antigen (HLFA) and the human Mac-1 antigen (HMac-1) have been analyzed with the use of five monoclonal antibodies that react with these proteins. The specificities of these antibodies were examined by immunoprecipitation of proteins from 125I-labeled cells and purified HLFA and HMac-1 antigens. Three antibodies reacted with the Mr 95,000 common beta-subunit of the proteins, and also co-precipitated the Mr 175,000 HLFA alpha-subunit, the Mr 165,000 HMac-1 alpha-subunit, and a third polypeptide alpha-subunit of Mr 150,000. The other antibodies were specific to noncross-reactive epitopes present on the alpha-subunits of HLFA or HMac-1. These specificities were confirmed in sequential immunoprecipitation studies. Peptide mapping showed that the beta-subunits of HLFA and HMac-1 were identical, whereas the two alpha-subunits differed considerably. The HLFA alpha-subunit-specific monoclonal antibody inhibited phytohemagglutinin stimulation, the mixed lymphocytes reaction, cytolytic T lymphocyte-mediated killing, and tetanus toxoid stimulation, but did not affect natural killer cell-mediated killing or complement receptor type 3 function. The HMac-1 alpha-subunit-specific monoclonal antibody inhibited complement receptor type 3 function but had no effect on T cell or natural killer cell functions. Three monoclonal antibodies to the beta-subunit inhibited all functions tested, including T cell, natural killer cell, and complement receptor type 3 activities. The results suggest that the functions of the HLFA and HMac-1 molecules may be determined by the alpha-subunit, and that the common beta-subunit also bears functionally important epitopes.

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