The location of the covalent binding site of the third component of complement (C3) on the IgG heavy chain was determined by sequence analysis of peptides generated by cyanogen bromide digestion of C3-IgG adducts. Activation of the alternative pathway by incubation of heat-aggregated human IgG1 with fresh normal human plasma formed covalent adducts of C3b-IgG. CNBr peptides of these adducts were transferred to a polyvinylidene difluoride membrane, and amino-terminal sequences were determined. A 40-kDa dipeptide containing the covalent bond was identified by labeling the free thiol group (generated during activation of the internal thioester of C3b) with iodo[1-14C]acetamide and analyzed by amino acid sequencing. The resulting double sequence suggested an adduct with NH2 termini at residue 938 (pro-C3 numbering) of C3 (75 residues NH2-terminal to the thioester) and residue 84 in the variable region of the IgG heavy chain. These results combined with results from hydroxylamine treatment (splits ester linkage between C3b and IgG) imply that this adduct peptide consists of a 22-kDa C3 fragment and an 18-kDa IgG fragment. Therefore, C3 binds covalently within the region extending from the last 20 residues of the variable region through the first 20 residues of CH2.