Assembly of the terminal C5b-C9 complement components into the cytolytic C5b-9 complex is accompanied by exposure of characteristic neoantigens on the macromolecule. We report the production and characterization of mouse monoclonal antibodies to C9-dependent neoantigens of human C5b-9. Binding-inhibition assays with EDTA-human plasma and micro-ELISA assays with purified C9 showed that the antibodies did not react with native complement components and thus confirmed the specificity of the antibodies for the neoantigens. The monoclonal antibodies did, however, cross-react with cytolyticaIly inactive, fluid-phase C5b-9 complexes, Thus, expression of the neoantigenic determinants was not dependent on the formation of high molecular weight C9 polymers with the complex, since these are absent in fluid-phase C5b-9. Radioiodinated antibodies could be utilized in immunoradiometric assays for the detection and quantitation of C5b-9 on cell membranes. Cross-reactivities of the antibodies with C9-dependent neoantigens of several other animal species were examined and antibody clones cross-reacting with rabbit (clones 3BI, 3Dg, and 2F3), sheep (clones 3Dg and 2F3) and guinea-pig (clone 3D8) neoantigens were identified. Three of four tested clones (3D8, 2F3, IA12) precipitated C5b-9 complexes in double-diffusion assays, probably due to their interaction with multiple and repeating C9-epitopes on the terminal complexes. The monoclonal antibodies will be of value for definitive identification and quantitation of C5b-9 on cell membranes and in tissues, and for establishing immunoassays for detection and quantitation of terminal fluid-phase C5b-9 complexes in plasma.

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