Spleen cells from CBA mice that had been primarily or secondarily immunized with sheep red blood cells were reacted at 0°C with a 125I-labeled polyvalent rabbit anti-mouse globulin reagent. After suitable washing, the cells were placed in a plaque-revealing monolayer and warmed to 37°C. Plaques appeared within 10–20 min. Single plaque-forming cells (PFC) were taken from the middle of plaques, were washed by micromanipulation, and were singly dried on glass slides. The amount of attached antireceptor was assessed by quantitative radioautography.
Great variation in "receptor density" was encountered among the 258 single cells studied. However, early, immature PFC in both primary and secondary responses had statistically significantly more receptors than late, mature PFC. On any given day point, no difference was found between IgM- and IgG-forming cells. The results were consistent with the view that cells still able to be driven to further proliferation by antigen retain receptors, and conversely that cells, as they mature, lose both receptors and ability to be influenced by antigen.