Membrane attack complex of complement. Evidence for its dimeric structure based on hybrid formation.

E. R. Podack, H. J. Müller-Eberhard

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11 Scopus citations


Molecular hybridization experiments provided new evidence for the dimeric nature of the membrane attack complex (MAC) of complement. Monomeric C5b-6, which constitutes the first intermediate complex in MAC formation, was prepared in two differentially labeled forms: biotin-125I-C5b-6 and 131I-C5b-6. Using a mixture of the differentially labeled C5b-6, the MAC was assembled on phospholipid vesicles upon addition of C7, C8, and C9. The assembled MAC containing biotin-125I and 131I was extracted from the vesicles with deoxycholate, purified, and exposed to avidin-Sepharose. Biotin-mediated binding of the MAC to avidin-Sepharose not only effected binding of 125I, but also of 131I, indicating that both radiolabels resided in the same molecular entity. When equimolar amounts of differentially labeled C5b-6 were available for MAC formation, 50% of MAC formed contained one molecule of each form. Theoretical analysis of the experimental data clearly favored the dimer structure over the structure of a higher oligomer. In contrast, fluid phase SC5b-9 was clearly monomeric on the basis of the same analysis. The electron microscopic appearance of the biotinated MAC hybrid closely resembled that of the characteristic membrane lesions of complement lysed cells. An avidin-ferritin conjugate attached itself to the ring-shaped portion of the biotinated MAC and not to its perpendicular structures, suggesting that C5b-6 is an integral part of the ring structure of the MAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3145-3148
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 10 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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