Sheep erythrocytes (E) sensitized with anti-E antibody (A) were reacted with guinea pig C1 (C1gp) and human C4 (C4hu) or guinea pig C4 (C4gp) to prepare EAC1, 4b. Treatment of the EAC1, 4b with a buffer containing EDTA removes C1rgp and C1sgp, resulting in the formation of EAC4b. EAC4b prepared in this way were found to be lysed by human or guinea pig serum in a gelatin Veronal-buffered saline containing 2 mM MgCl2 and 8 mM EGTA (Mg-EGTA-GVB). In the hemolytic sensitivity of EAC4bhu, essentially no difference was noted whether IgG or IgM antibodies were used for preparation of EAC4bhu. The extent of the hemolysis of EAC4bhu was dependent on the dose of C4bhu. Because EAC4bhu were lysed even by C2-deficient human serum, C3 convertase of the classical complement pathway would not be involved in the hemolysis of EAC4bhu. Furthermore, the reactivity of EAC4bhu with serum in Mg-EGTA-GVB remained even after treatment of the intermediate cells with 1 mM PMSF, indicating that any remaining C1gp was not responsible for the hemolysis. Therefore, the hemolysis of EAC4b by sera in Mg-EGTA-GVB was considered to be mediated via activation of the alternative complement pathway (ACP). Pretreatment of EAC4bhu with anti-C4hu antibody or C4-binding protein suppressed the hemolysis of EAC4bhu via the ACP activation. Furthermore, EAC4bhu were more sensitive to hemolysis by the reaction with a mixture of C3, B, D, and H followed by rat serum in EDTA-GVB than EAC1qgp were. These results indicate that C4b molecules on the cell membrane participate in the activation of ACP.

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