Experiments are described demonstrating the precipitation of azodyes by immune sera prepared by the injection of azoproteins containing the same azo component. These precipitin reactions prove conclusively the view already advanced on the basis of inhibition reactions that antibodies combine specifically with substances of small molecular weight. Although in this respect both phenomena have the same significance, the precipitin reactions with dyes are simpler in that the aid of a protein antigen is eliminated.
That specific serological precipitin reactions can take place with substances other than proteins has been amply demonstrated by studies on bacterial antigens (14) (polysaccharides (15)). The present findings show that for the precipitation with immune sera not even a high molecular weight of the reactive substance is required. Factors determining the tendency to separate out from the liquid upon combination with antibody seem to be the colloidal state of the solution and the chemical composition of the substance. With regard to the influence of chemical composition, a striking example is provided by the suberic acid dye which gives particularly strong precipitin reactions, most probably on account of its long aliphatic side chains.
The results reported may be of use for studies on the mechanism of serological precipitation.