The distribution of neoantigens in the surface membrane of avian tumor virus-infected chicken embryo fibroblasts was examined on carbon replicas of cell cultures using hemocyanin-labeled antibody. New determinants appearing on the cell surface of virally infected but not transformed cells are thought to be common with components of the viral envelope. These antigens were found to exist in a diffuse, random array on the dorsal cell surface, with a denser accumulation along the cell processes. In living cells, surface antigens are capable of several types of redistribution when activated by reaction with antibody. Leukosis virus-infected (non-transformed) cells showed two apparently independent modes of redistribution: a relocation of some antibody-related sites to the cell margin; or an involvement of essentially all sites in randomly dispersed aggregates. Viral antigenic sites on sarcoma virus-infected (transformed) cells, reacted with antibody, were able to produce weak marginal relocation; but revealed a more striking tendency to migrate to some central location. The centripetal coalescence thus formed resembles the "cap" noted in other systems. Prior aggregation into "patches" may not be a prerequisite for such cap formation.
Tumor-specific surface antigen detection and mapping was attempted by this technique, but results were equivocal. An antigen possibly characteristic of rapidly dividing cells occurred in a sparse, diffuse fashion over the surface of morphologically distinct "round" cells.