A hapten-sandwich procedure has been used for immunospecific labeling of cell surface antigens with markers visible by scanning electron microscopy. Antihapten antibody was used to link hapten-modified tobacco mosaic virus, bushy stunt virus, or hemocyanin to hapten-modified human erythrocytes. The antihapten antibody bridge was also used to link the hapten-virus marker to hapten-modified antibodies against mammary tumor virus on mouse mammary tumor cells, or against immunoglobulin receptors on mouse splenic lymphocytes. In all cases, labeling was highly specific. With this technique, it is possible to (a) compare morphological features of cells bearing differing cell surface antigens, and (b) examine the arrangement of specific antigenic sites on a cell surface or their distribution relative to membrane structures such as microvilli.

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