Antibody-independent activation of the alternative complement pathway by measles virus-infected cells

J. G.P. Sissons, M. B.A. Oldstone, R. D. Schreiber

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68 Scopus citations


When HeLa cells acutely infected with measles virus were incubated in a mixture containing only the six proteins of the alternative pathway of complement activation (C3, factors B and D, β1H, C3b inactivation, and native properdin) without antibody, there was activation of the alternative pathway as shown by progressive uptake of 125I-labeled C3b onto the cell surface. This C3b uptake was blocked by EDTA and was not shown by uninfected cells. The rate of 125I-labeled C3 uptake by infected cells was the same in the absence and presence of properdin; however, when antiviral IgG was bound to the cell surface, the rate of C3 uptake was increased in the presence of properdin. Significant 125I-labeled C3 uptake was first detectable when cells were studied at 12 hr after infection, when all cells expressed viral polypeptides on their surface. There was also progressive uptake of 125I-labeled C3 onto measles virus-infected cells incubated in human serum depleted of both IgG and C4. Hence, the human alternative pathway of complement activation can be initiated on the surface of measles virus-infected cells independent of IgG antibody. However, lysis of the infected cells only occurs when antiviral antibody is present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-562
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980


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