Capping of anti-Ig-Ig complexes was studied in murine B lymphocytes. Morphological studies indicated that caps formed rapidly on cells before any changes in shape. The first changes in cell shape were evident as a contraction right under the cap area. The removal of extracellular calcium had no effect on cap formation. Furthermore, the introduction of calcium by the ionophore A-23187 stopped capping. The ionophere by itself in the absence of extracellular calcium had no effect. Caps were found to be disrupted, the complexes scattering over the entire cell surface if the cells were treated by A-23187 after the caps had formed. The disruptive effect of A-23187 as dependent on extracellular calcium and could be stopped by drugs that affected energy metabolism. The cytochalasins also disrupted the formed caps. Drugs that affect energy metabolism by themselves did not disrupt the caps. We interpret the effects of the ionophore as resulting from a systemic hypercontractility of microfilaments. A theory for explaining the formation and disruption of capping is discussed.

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