Human antibodies affinity purified on an adsorbent prepared from a cDNA clone (Ag44) expressing a portion of a rhoptry antigen were used to characterize the synthesis and fate of the antigen in the asexual blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum. The rhoptry antigen is synthesized in the mature trophozoite-stage parasites as a 103 kDa polypeptide, is present in the schizonts and merozoites as a 105 kDa polypeptide, is discharged from the rhoptries and found in the newly invaded red cells as a 110 kDa polypeptide. Anti-Ag44 antibodies immunoprecipitate the antigen and two additional polypeptides of 135 and 150 kDa from lysates of infected cells and from culture supernatants. The three polypeptides are associated in a non-covalent complex that persists in the newly invaded red cells. All the components of the high molecular weight rhoptry complex are antigenic and can be precipitated with immune human serum. The 135 kDa polypeptide is identical to a 140 kDa rhoptry antigen previously identified by a monoclonal antibody.