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Lysis of human lymphocytes by autologous complement had been studied using a range of monoclonal antibodies against different antigens. Antigen specificity (and not antibody isotype) was the most important factor which influenced cell lysis and this could not be accounted for merely by differences in surface density between antigens. Three antigens with comparable surface density were studied in detail: CAMPATH-1 (lytic), major histocompatibility complex class I (lytic) and leukocyte common antigen (poorly lytic). C1q binding was roughly proportional to antibody binding and dependent on antibody isotype. However, the lytic antibodies were much better able to bind and activate whole C1 than the poorly lytic ones. This result would not have been predicted from traditional concepts of complement activation but can be interpreted in the light of models for C1 activation which involve Fc-Fc interactions, Fc-C1r2s2 interactions and a critical C1q stem-arm angle for C1 binding and activation.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date





1507 - 1514


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity, Antigen-Antibody Reactions, Antigens, Differentiation, Antigens, Surface, Complement Activating Enzymes, Complement Activation, Complement C1, Complement C1q, Complement C3, Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic, Histocompatibility Antigens, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Humans, Immunoglobulin Isotypes, In Vitro Techniques, Leukocyte Common Antigens