Macrophages from rabbit peritoneal exudate cells incubated in vitro with T2 bacteriophage from 10 up to 120 minutes show phage particles adsorbed to cell membranes, in the process of being engulfed by means of rhopheocytosis, micropinocytosis, and phagocytosis, and localized within dense vacuoles, semi-dense vacuoles, and clear vacuoles of the cytoplasm.
The electronmicrographs suggest that newly formed endocytic vacuoles containing phage particles fuse with one another and also fuse with dense bodies of the cytoplasm as they migrate towards the cell interior, thus yielding larger vacuoles of varying densities containing higher concentrations of phage.
The polymorphonuclear cells present in a small proportion in the peritoneal exudate cells also endocytosed phage particles. The T2 particles are found in large cytoplasmic vacuoles surrounded by an electron-opaque material presumably derived from cytoplasmic granules.
No disintegration of T2 phage within the macrophage following incubations up to 120 minutes could be demonstrated; however, disrupted phage particles were noted within cytoplasmic vacuoles of polymorphonuclear leucocytes after 15 minutes' incubation.