Hapten-antibody complexes prepared at equivalence with the bivalent hapten bis-DNP-octamethylene-diamine and purified rabbit anti-DNP antibody were fractionated by Sepharose gel-filtration and the fractions examined by electron microscopy. Individual fractions were tested for whole-complement fixation and C1 fixation. Dimer forms did not show this type of biological activity, while fractions containing tetramers and larger polymers exhibited both C and C1 fixation, which could be inhibited by prior exposure of the complexes to the univalent hapten epsilon-DNP-caproic acid. The dose-response result indicated that the C-fixation observed was not due to interpolymeric cooperative effects.

It was concluded that in the generation of biological activity by soluble antigen-antibody complexes made with complement-fixing antibody, quaternary structural changes following specific combination with antigen may be as important as any tertiary structural alterations that occur in the individual immunoglobulin molecule.

This content is only available as a PDF.