Nephritic factor (C3NeF) has been isolated from plasma of patients with hypocomplementemic chronic glomerulonephritis (HCG) by ion exchange and molecular sieve chromatography. This material was further treated with solidified anti-Ig antiserum. The purified material failed to react with antiserum to human IgG, IgG3, Fab, Fc, and kappa and lambda chains, but retained full C3NeF activity. The nonidentity of C3NeF with IgG was further demonstrated by Ouchterlony analysis using anti-IgG and anti-C3NeF. Isolated C3NeF was found to be a protein with a sedimentation coefficient of 7S and a mol wt of 150,000 daltons, which on microzone electrophoresis and gel electrophoresis at pH 8.6 behaved as a γ-globulin. C3NeF is not a C1q precipitin and does not activate the classical complement pathway. Unlike cobra venom factor, it failed to enter into a complex with C3 proactivator (C3PA) when incubated with normal human serum (NHS) and then subjected to sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation. The action of isolated C3NeF on C3 requires C3PA, C3PA convertase (C3PAse), and properdin (P). Similarly, C3PA conversion by C3NeF requires P, C3PAse, and C3. Total hemolytic activity was lost by incubation of 64 µg of C3NeF/1 ml NHS at 37°C for 30 min. Both C3a and C5a anaphylatoxin could be generated by C3NeF in serum previously depleted of anaphylatoxin inactivator. Anti-C3NeF was found to detect an antigen in all NHS tested. Treatment of NHS with solidified anti-C3NeF caused impairment of the alternate complement pathway. It failed to sustain lysis of glutathione-treated human erythrocytes initiated by inulin. It is conceivable that the normal serum constituent which is removed by anti-C3NeF constitutes the inactive precursor of C3NeF, and a heretofore unrecognized component of the alternate pathway.

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