C1q, a subunit of the first component of the classical C pathway, binds to specific cells of the immune system, triggering a variety of cellular responses. To identify the functional C1qR on phagocytic cells, mAbs were generated by immunization with either C1q-binding proteins isolated from U937 cells or intact U937 cells. Immunoprecipitation followed by Western blot analysis demonstrated that three mAbs, designated R139 (IgG2b), R3 (IgM), and U40.3 (IgG1), recognize the same 100,000 M(r) protein (126,000 M(r) under reducing conditions). These mAbs also co-immunoprecipitate CD43 from detergent extracts of U937, consistent with the possibility that this C1qR is a multi-subunit structure. Two Abs, R3 and R139, but not U40.3, consistently inhibited the enhancement of phagocytosis by monocytes adhered to either C1q or the collagen-like fragment of C1q (C1q-CLF). Interestingly, binding inhibition studies demonstrated that neither R139 nor U40.3 blocked the binding of [125I]C1q-CLF to U937 cells, whereas R3 did inhibit 35 to 45% of the binding of [125I]C1q-CLF to these cells. Thus, the three mAbs recognize distinct epitopes of a 100,000 M(r) polypeptide that is a component of the monocyte C1qR that modulates phagocytosis. All three mAbs recognize the extracellular domain of the molecule on neutrophils, monocytes, and U937 cells, but were not reactive with CEM or RAJI cells, T and B lymphoblastoid cell lines, respectively. Furthermore, none of these three mAbs inhibited or mimicked the C1q-mediated stimulation of superoxide production by neutrophils, suggesting that the C1qR that mediates the enhancement of phagocytosis differs in at least some critical parameter from the C1qR that mediates superoxide generation by the neutrophil.

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