106 splenocytes from primed donors were injected, together with sheep erythrocytes (SRBC), into X-irradiated syngeneic mice. 8 days later the spleens were excised and cut into small fragments, keeping track of their location in the organ. Each fragment was cultured individually for 24 hr in the presence of 14C amino acids and the culture fluids were assayed for antibody activity. The antibody-producing fragments were found to be clustered in few restricted areas (foci) surrounded by negative tissue.
The anti-SRBC antibody from single foci was purified by absorption on stroma followed by acid elution. Thereafter, it was subjected to electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis. The radioautography of the runs showed a considerable degree of homogeneity. Distinct and sharp spikes were localized in the beta and gamma region. The pattern of each focus is unique from the point of view of the number of spikes and their mobility. Eluates obtained from many pooled fragments gave a broad radioactive smear in beta-gamma region.
Many foci synthesized antibody migrating as a single band. This homogeneous protein is probably the product of a clone of cells homogeneously differentiated. However, some foci producing two and probably more antibody bands were also encountered. Two interpretations of the finding can be given. Either more than one precursor may participate in the formation of a focus or a differentiation switch may occur during the clonal expansion.