Cultivation of human monocytes with recombinant IFN-gamma causes a 5-10-fold depression in their binding of EC3b or EC3bi. This effect is observed within 18 h and is expressed for 5 d in the presence of 100 U/ml IFN-gamma. The capacity of IFN-gamma-treated phagocytes to bind EC3b and EC3bi is fully restored if the phagocytes are allowed to spread for 45 min on surfaces coated with Fn. IFN-gamma-treated cells express normal levels of cell surface C3b and C3bi receptors as measured with monoclonal anti-receptor antibodies, and spreading on Fn does not alter receptor number. We conclude that cultivation with IFN-gamma causes a change in the nature of these receptors that prevents them from interacting with ligand. Immunoelectron microscopy shows that C3bi receptors are expressed on the apical surface of the IFN-gamma-treated MO and that these receptors exhibit normal capacity to migrate in the plane of the membrane. Thus, the nature of the change caused by IFN-gamma is not related to changes in receptor number, location, or mobility. While spreading of IFN-gamma-treated cells on Fn enables C3 receptors to bind ligand, it does not enable them to promote phagocytosis. Treatment of cells with PMA alone does not affect binding or phagocytosis, but treatment of cells with both Fn and PMA enables cells to phagocytose EC3b and EC3bi. These data indicate that the binding and signaling activities of C3 receptors are separately regulated. Fn enables receptors to bind ligand and PMA enables them to signal phagocytosis.

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