A complement-resistant HeLa cell line (T638) is blocked at the step of C3 deposition

P. Santi, K. A. Joiner, C. H. Hammer, M. M. Frank, R. Tosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A complement-resistant line of HeLa cells (T638) was derived by serial passage of complement-susceptible HeLa cells in anti-β2-microglobulin (b2m) antiserum and complement. The T638 line maintained stable complement resistance when passed for an additional 1500 generations in the absence of antiserum and complement. T638 cells expressed equivalent levels of cell-associated b2m as did the parent HeLa cell line. Furthermore, T638 cells were resistant to killing by complement and anti-HeLa antiserum with specificity for molecules other than b2m. These results indicate that the resistance of T638 cells does not simply reflect loss of anti-b2m binding antigens. We next investigated the mechanism of resistance of T638 cells to complement-mediated killing. Antibody-sensitized HeLa and T638 cells both consumed CH50 activity completely from normal human serum; cytotoxicity was not mediated via the alternative complement pathway. HeLa and T638 cells caused equivalent utilization of C4 from normal human serum in the presence of antibody. Consumption of C2, greater with T638 than with HeLa cells during incubation in serum, was complete when cells bearing purified C1 and limited C4 were incubated with C2. T638 cells bound more 3H-C4 than HeLa cells during incubation in serum, but binding of 3H-C3 by T638 cells was fourfold to fivefold less than by HeLa cells. Finally, we investigated the rate of decay in the capacity of C142 on HeLa and T638 to cleave and deposit 3H-C3. The T 1/2 for decay of C142-mediated binding of 3H-C3 on HeLa was 3.9 min, whereas minimal C3 deposition was detected on T638 cells at all time points. These results show that T638 cells evade complement-mediated lysis despite activating early components of the classical complement pathway. The mechanism of resistance is a failure to form an effective C3 convertase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3385-3391
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'A complement-resistant HeLa cell line (T638) is blocked at the step of C3 deposition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this