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Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes are exquisitely resistant to the lytic effects of vertebrate complement, and this characteristic contributes to the survival of the parasites in the host bloodstream. Trypomastigotes avoid complement-mediated lysis by the production of a surface glycoprotein that inhibits the formation of the alternative and classical C3 convertase, thus preventing activation and amplification of the complement cascade at the parasite surface. We have developed a monoclonal antibody to the 160-kDa T. cruzi complement regulatory protein (CRP) and describe a one-step immunoaffinity purification procedure. The CRP was purified to homogeneity and subjected to amino-terminal peptide sequence analysis. Based on the protein sequence obtained, the CRP was identified as a member of a large family of trypomastigote-specific genes, and a complete cDNA was isolated and sequenced. The complete coding sequence was cloned in Escherichia coli, and antibodies raised against the full-length recombinant protein reacted specifically with a 160-kDa protein in trypomastigote membrane protein preparations as well as with native, purified CRP. Indirect immunofluorescence revealed that the protein is uniformly expressed at the cell surfaces of trypomastigotes.