1. The a- and b-chains of reduced and alkylated human complement subcomponent C1r were separated by high-pressure gel-permeation chromatography and isolated in good yield and in pure form. 2. CNBr cleavage of C1r b-chain yielded eight major peptides, which were purified by gel filtration and high-pressure reversed-phase chromatography. As determined from the sum of their amino acid compositions, these peptides accounted for a minimum molecular weight of 28 000, close to the value 29 100 calculated from the whole b-chain. 3. N-Terminal sequence determinations of C1r b-chain and its CNBr-cleavage peptides allowed the identification of about two-thirds of the amino acids of C1r b-chain. From our results, and on the basis of homology with other serine proteinases, an alignment of the eight CNBr-cleavage peptides from C1r b-chain is proposed. 4. The residues forming the ‘charge-relay’ system of the active site of serine proteinases (His-57, Asp-102 and Ser-195 in the chymotrypsinogen numbering) are found in the corresponding regions of C1r b-chain, and the amino acid sequence around these residues has been determined. 5. The N-terminal sequence of C1r b-chain has been extended to residue 60 and reveals that C1r b-chain lacks the ‘histidine loop’, a disulphide bond that is present in all other known serine proteinases.

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