A hapten-sandwich procedure has been developed for specific labeling of cell surface antigens for fluorescence or electron microscopy. Haptens are azo-coupled to immunoglobulins specific for a cell surface antigen; the hapten-modified cell-bound antibodies can then be visualized by adding fluorescent antihapten antibody, or by adding antihapten antibody followed by hapten-modified markers for electron microscopy. Virus or high molecular weight protein markers are lightly cross-linked before conjugation with hapten to prevent their disruption. Such stable hapten-modified markers, and the accessibility of many different purified anti-azophenyl-hapten antibodies, make it feasible to distinguish more than one membrane antigen in a given labeling experiment. When mouse lymphoid cell populations are labeled with separate markers for Ig and for thymus-associated antigens, many cells exhibit the Ig marker exclusively or the thymic marker predominantly, and some cells are completely free of label.

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