Normal lymphocytes were found to adhere strongly to monolayer cultures of fibroblasts deficient in the lysosomal enzyme, beta-glucuronidase. During this co-culture, the fibroblasts acquired from the lymphocytes substantial amounts of this enzyme, which often accumulated at sites of contact between the two types of cell. Enzyme transfer was prevented by addition to the co-cultures either of purified lymphocyte plasma membranes or of antibody raised against such plasma membranes, but it was not inhibited by the addition of antibody raised against lymphocyte-derived beta-glucuronidase. An active role for the lymphocyte in this contact-dependent process was suggested by interference contrast, immunofluorescence and scanning electron-microscopic studies. These revealed extensive arrays of projections of the lymphocyte that ramified over the fibroblast cell surface. By transmission electron microscopy, conspicuous clusters of micropinocytotic vesicles were evident in the cytoplasm of the ‘recipient’ fibroblasts, subjacent to the surface in regions closely apposed to adherent lymphocytes. Such high frequencies of these vesicles were restricted to sites of lymphocyte-fibroblast contact, suggesting that they may play an important part in the transfer of enzyme between these two types of cell.

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