The lymphocyte receptor for complexed immunoglobulin was shown not to bind heat-aggregated human serum albumin, bovine serum albumin, transferrin, F(ab')2, reduced and alkylated Ig, and mildly oxidized Ig, which indicated that the receptor is specific for a site dependent on disulfide bond(s) on the Fc portion of complexed Ig. Inhibition experiments provided evidence that the same receptor binds both heat-aggregated Ig and antigen-antibody complexes.
Lymphocytes treated with pronase were no longer able to bind Ig complexes, which suggested that the receptor is a protein or glycoprotein. Additional evidence was obtained that lymphocyte surface Ig and the receptor for complexed Ig are distinct since the former could be capped without affecting the distribution of the latter, and surface Ig was not detectable after trypsinization of lymphocytes, whereas the binding of Ig complexes was unaffected by such treatment. Incubation of lymphocytes which had bound Ig complexes in tissue culture medium at 37°C revealed that the complexes remained on the surface membrane for several hours, and that only a minority of lymphocytes binding complexes showed cap formation.
Lymphocytes which had heat-aggregated IgG specifically bound to their receptors for complexed Ig were markedly inhibited in their ability to mediate antibody-dependent cytotoxicity, thus providing strong evidence for the necessity of the receptor in this immune activity. Titration of this inhibition with varying amounts of complexes revealed distinct plateaus in the dose-response curve. This suggested that there may be more than one kind of receptor and/or different populations of lymphocytes which bear the receptor.