Membrane Ig on human lymphocytes: rate of turnover of IgD and IgM on the surface of human tonsil cells

M. Ferrarini, G. Corte, G. Viale, M. L. Durante, A. Bargellesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The turnover of IgM and IgD molecules present on the membrane of human tonsil cells has been studied using immunofluorescence and peroxidase catalyzed membrane radioiodination. With the first of the two techniques cells were treated with pronase to remove membrane immunoglobulin (mIg), placed in culture and stained at intervals to check the reappearance of membrane IgD and IgM on the cell membrane. These experiments showed that membrane IgD (in contrast to membrane IgM) is extremely susceptible to proteolysis. Furthermore, cells treated with a concentration of pronase found to be optimal to remove membrane IgM failed to re express membrane IgD in vitro. The large majority of tonsil lymphocytes has both membrane IgM and IgD. Due to the different behavior of reappearance of the two membrane molecules after treatment with pronase, it was not possible to obtain the simultaneous re expression of membrane IgM and IgD by the cells 'stripped' with pronase. However, the two molecules were re expressed in vitro by the cells treated with different pronase concentrations with a similar timing, i.e. 50 % or more of the cells re expressed membrane IgD and IgM after 8 h in culture. 131I radioiodinated membrane IgD and IgM were also released from the cell surface with a similar timing, the half life of permanence on the cell membrane being about 4 h for both molecules. These findings thus indicate that IgM and IgD molecules have a similar turnover and that a cell is capable of placing two different Ig molecules at a time on its surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-378
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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