Membrane and Cytoplasmic Changes in B Lymphocytes Induced by Ligand-Surface Immunoglobulin Interaction

George F. Schreiner, Emil R. Unanue

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254 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses membrane and cytoplasmic changes in B lymphocytes induced by ligand–surface immunoglobulin (Ig) interaction. Surface Ig is the receptor for antigen molecules on B lymphocytes. Surface Ig has been identified on the B-cell surface by using immunocytochemistry or direct biochemical analysis. The number of Ig molecules presumably serving as antigen receptors on the B cell surface is on the average of 105 molecules per B cell. The amount of surface-bound Ig is large comparing to the number of hormone receptors needed to trigger certain cellular responses. One could speculate that many of the surface Ig–antigen interactions result in nonfunctional events; therefore, many receptors are needed. The B cell requires such a high number of receptors to effectively bind antigen molecules of large size and variable epitope densities or a number of successive hits are needed in these cells to reach an effective threshold of stimulation. The distribution of surface Ig and other surface macromolecules has been studied at the ultrastructural level by using various methods. One method was the ultrastructural analysis of regular thin section of cells exposed to antibodies conjugated to a large visible molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-165
Number of pages129
JournalAdvances in Immunology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976


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