A function of P in the alternative complement pathway is to prolong the first order decay of the hemolytic sites on EAC43B in a dose-dependent manner. As the number of initial convertase sites is not changed, even when activated properdin (P) increases the t1/2 10-fold or more, P acts to stabilize rather than to uncover additional sites. P binds to EAC43 to generate EAC43P in a reaction that proceeds slightly more rapidly at 15 degrees C than at 0 degrees C, but reaches the same plateau and does not require divalent cations. The presence of P on EAC43P not only stabilizes the convertase subsequently formed on that cell, but, alternatively, permits transfer to convertase sites on other cells with the stability of the recipient intermediate being dependent on the P available for transfer. The capacity of P to bind to C3b and stabilize C3B contrasts with the inhibitory effect of the C3b inactivator on formation of this amplification convertase.