Small unilamellar lipid vesicles bearing the DNP-hapten on their surfaces and containing the water-soluble fluorescent dye carboxyfluorescein were formed by sonication. These vesicles were incubated with cells from the murine myeloma tumor MOPC 315, which secrete and also bear on the cell surface an immunoglobulin with affinity for the nitrophenyl hapten. At 0°C the cells bound an average of several thousand vesicles at saturation. This binding was specific for the nitrophenyl hapten on the vesicle since it was abolished by an excess of soluble nitrophenyl derivative, by omission of the hapten from the vesicle, or by substitution for MOPC 315 of a tumor lacking receptors for the nitrophenyl hapten. Specific binding of vesicles was greater when cells were incubated at 37°C.
The study suggests that ligand-bearing vesicles can be a useful marker for cell surface immunoglobulin. However, in spite of the ability to “target” vesicles to cell surface determinants, binding did not result in increased delivery of vesicle contents to the cytoplasm.