We have used ferritin-conjugated divalent and monovalent anti-Ig antibodies to study simultaneously, histamine secretion and the ultrastructural distribution and redistribution of Ig receptors on rat peritoneal mast cells. We conclude that (a) divalent anti-Ig is required for both receptor redistribution and for calcium-dependent degranulation and histamine release, (b) divalent anti-Ig induces patching and pinocytosis but not capping of Ig molecules, (c) neither capping nor pinocytosis are required for triggering and if clustering is necessary, then less than 10 Ig molecules are required per cluster, and (d) degranulation (and histamine release) is not an all or none response of the mast cell.

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