It has been shown that Krebs ascites tumor cells incubated in vitro with immune gamma globulin and complement lose the bulk of their cytoplasmic RNA to the suspending medium, although the cell membrane remains visibly intact.
The present experiments show that about four-fifths of the lost RNA is sedimented by centrifugation of the cell-free medium at 105,000 g. Electron microscopic and chemical analyses of the pellets show them to consist of 150 A ribonucleoprotein particles. It is concluded that most of the RNA passes from the cells in this form.
Antibody-complement action causes osmotic swelling of the tumor cells and they become quite fragile. Fragmentation of such preparations yields large numbers of membrane-bounded spheres which may be separated from the heavier nuclei by differential centrifugation. Electron microscopic study of the spheres provides evidence that they can arise from segments of the cell surface as well as from mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum.