The immunogenicity of antigen bound to the plasma membrane of macrophages

J Exp Med. 1970 Apr 1;131(4):711-25. doi: 10.1084/jem.131.4.711.


Macrophages were cultured for several hours after a brief exposure to radio-iodinated keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Most of the hemocyanin taken up by the macrophages was rapidly catabolized and eliminated from the cell. A few molecules were retained on the plasma membrane of the cells for prolonged periods and were not subject to endocytosis and catabolism. These few molecules of hemocyanin bound to the plasma membrane were identified by observing the fixation of antibody fragments to macrophages at low temperature. The membrane-bound antigen, which could be removed by trypsin or EDTA, was of large molecular size, though heterogeneous. A great part of the immune responses of mice to hemocyanin bound to live macrophages could be abrogated by treatment of the macrophages in vitro with antibody or trypsin. Hence, most of the immunogenicity of hemocyanin bound to macrophages was attributed to the few molecules of antigen bound to the plasma membrane.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Antigen-Antibody Reactions
  • Antigens* / analysis
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Hemocyanins / pharmacology
  • Immunoassay
  • Iodine Isotopes
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Mice


  • Antigens
  • Iodine Isotopes
  • Hemocyanins