The uptake and processing by cultured rat embryo fibroblasts of control rabbit immunoglobulins (C IgG) or IgG directed against plasma membrane constituents (anti-PM IgG), and labeled with fluorescein (F) or with radioactive acetate (A), have been investigated by cell fractionation and immunological techniques. Both F and A anti-PM IgGs become bound to the cell surface, by a process that is slow, but largely temperature-independent. In the presence of an excess of high-affinity antibodies, binding reaches an absolute limit which corresponds to extensive coating of the plasma membrane. The anti-PM IgGs remain attached to the membrane for at least several days, even at 37 degrees C, with no significant transfer to lysosomes or degradation. In contrast, C IgGs are handled very differently by the fibroblasts, and their fate is strikingly affected by the type of labeling used. AC IgG is taken up slowly, at a rate proportional to its concentration, and is subsequently broken down in what appears to be lysosomes. Part of the AC IgG also binds to the plasma membrane. FC IgG is taken up many times faster than AC IgG, though with the same strict linearity as a function of concentration. Most of the FC IgG taken up is stored in cytoplasmic granules which behave like lysosomes. For reasons that are not understood, only about half of the stored FC IgG can be broken down. Cells exposed simulatnaously to AC IgG and FC IgG, or to A anti-PM IgG and FC IgG, handle each type of IgG in its characteristic fashion. Kinetic analysis of these results indicates that Ac IgG could be taken up by fluid endocytosis, but that FC IgG must be interiorized by a selective mechanism, presumably adsorptive in nature. That anti-PM antibodies remain stably bound to the plasma membrane and do not interfere with the uptake of FC IgG is interpreted to indicate either that two distinct membrane domains are involved in the two phenomena, or that membrane patches coated with anti-PM IgG participate in endocytosis, and are recycled back to the cell surface after delivering their contents intracellularly.

This content is only available as a PDF.