Inhibition of surface capping of macromolecules by local anaesthetics and tranquillisers


IMMUNOGLOBULIN (Ig) molecules on the surface of B lymphocytes aggregate into a ‘cap’1 when the cell is treated with anti-Ig1–3. A similar process occurs with concanavalin A (con A) on neutrophil polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN)4. Capping occurs in two stages in both of these cell types4,5: first, the ligand-receptor complexes aggregate into multiple clusters of variable size, leaving intervening bare membrane; and second, the clusters are swept into a single mass. Both stages are temperature-dependent (that is, they do not occur in the cold), but only the latter is energy-dependent (that is, clustering occurs but capping is inhibited on cells treated with metabolic inhibitors)4–6. The formation of clusters can be attributed to the ability of the ligand to cross-link receptors5; some form of membrane activity then sweeps the clusters into the cap. Capping can occur in the absence of cell locomotion4,7, but if locomotion does occur the cap is found at the trailing end of the cell4. These aspects of capping have recently been analysed in detail4,7.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Taylor, R. B., Duffus, W. P. H., Raff, M. C., and de Petris, S., Nature new Biol., 233, 225–229 (1971).

  2. 2

    Unanue, E. R., Perkins, W. D., and Karnovsky, M. J., J. exp. Med., 136, 885–906 (1972).

  3. 3

    Karnovsky, M. J., Unanue, E. R., and Leventhal, M., J. exp. Med., 136, 907–930 (1972).

  4. 4

    Ryan, G. B., Borysenko, J. Z., and Karnovsky, M. J., J. Cell Biol. (in the press).

  5. 5

    Unanue, E. R., Karnovsky, M. J., and Engers, H. D., J. exp. Med., 137, 675–689 (1973).

  6. 6

    Loor, F., Forni, L., and Pernis, B., Eur. J. Immun., 2, 203–212 (1972).

  7. 7

    Unanue, E. R., Ault, K. A., and Karnovsky, M. J., J. exp. Med., 139, 295–312 (1974).

  8. 8

    Shanes, A. M., Nature, 188, 1209–1210 (1960).

  9. 9

    Blaustein, M. P., and Goldman, D. E., Science, 153, 429–432 (1966).

  10. 10

    Seeman, P. M., Int. Rev. Neurobiol., 9, 145–221 (1966).

  11. 11

    Covino, B. G., New Engl. J. Med., 286, 975–983 (1972).

  12. 12

    Smith, S. B., and Revel, J-P., Devl. Biol., 27, 434–441 (1972).

  13. 13

    Feinstein, M. B., J. gen. Physiol., 48, 357–374 (1964).

  14. 14

    Papahadjopoulos, D., Biochim. biophys. Acta, 265, 169–186 (1972).

  15. 15

    Seeman, P., Kwant, W. O., Sauks, T., and Argent, W., Biochim. biophys. Acta, 183, 490–498 (1969).

  16. 16

    Seeman, P., Kwant, W. O., and Sauks, T., Biochim. biophys. Acta, 183, 499–511 (1969).

  17. 17

    Roth, S., and Seeman, P., Nature new Biol., 231, 284–285 (1971).

  18. 18

    O'Brien, J. R., J. clin. Path., 14, 140–149 (1961).

  19. 19

    O'Brien, J. R., J. clin. Path., 15, 446–455 (1962).

  20. 20

    Poste, G., and Reeve, P., Expl Cell Res., 72, 556–560 (1972).

  21. 21

    Giddon, D. B., and Lindhe, J., Am. J. Pathol., 68, 327–338 (1972).

  22. 22

    Cullen, B. F., Chretien, P. B., and Leventhal, B. G., Brit. J. Anaesth., 44, 1247–1251 (1972).

  23. 23

    Gail, M. H., and Boone, C. W., Expl Cell Res., 73, 252–255 (1972).

  24. 24

    Feinstein, M. B., and Paimre, M., Fedn Proc., 28, 1643–1648 (1969).

  25. 25

    Byers, M. R., Fink, B. R., Kennedy, R. D., Middaugh, M. E., Hendrickson, A. E., J. Neurobiol., 4, 125–143 (1973).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

RYAN, G., UNANUE, E. & KARNOVSKY, M. Inhibition of surface capping of macromolecules by local anaesthetics and tranquillisers. Nature 250, 56–57 (1974) doi:10.1038/250056a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.