The effect of concanavalin A (Con A) on the capping of mouse lymphocyte surface immunoglobulin (surface Ig), cross-linked by rabbit anti-mouse Ig antibody, and on the capping of mouse thymocyte theta antigen, cross-linked by anti-theta alloantibody and rabbit anti-mouse Ig antibody, has been studied by immunofluorescence, using fluorescein conjugated Con A and rhodamine-conjugated anti-mouse Ig antibody, and by electron microscopy, using native or fluorescein-conjugated Con A and ferritin-conjugated anti-mouse Ig antibody. Prior incubation of the cells with Con A inhibited only partially capping os surface Ig, whereas it blocked almost completely capping of theta antigens. Both on cells with rings and on cells with caps the staining for surface Ig or theta antigen was superimposed to the staining for Con A. When Con A receptors on spleen cells were capped by Con A at concentrations of 10 mug/ml or higher, and the distribution of surface Ig was examined under noncapping conditions, all detectable surface Ig were found in the caps. As shown by electron microscopy, surface Ig remained dispersed in a layer of Con A. The ability of Con A to cap surface Ig was not altered by the presence of cohchicine or vinblastine. These results suggest that surface Ig are cross-linked by Con A to other Con A receptors. In these conditions surface Ig behave essentially as Con A receptors, as for example, in their sensitivity to cytochalasin B during inhibition or reversal of capping induced by this drug. The behavior of surface Ig parallels that of Con A receptors also in the presence of vinblastine. It is concluded that in the presence of Con A, antimitotic drugs do not modify directly the interaction between Con A receptors and surface Ig, but probably influence the capping ability of the Con A receptors or, more in general, affect the ability to elicit movements over the cell surface. The role in capping of cytochalasin-sensitive and vinblastine-sensitive structures is discussed. Both types of structures appear to play an active role in the formation of a cap, although the former probably corresponds to the main mechanical system responsible for the active displacement of cytoplasmic and surface material.

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