We have used a quantitative radiolabelled antibody procedure to measure the amount of certain virus structural antigens on the surface of BALB/c RAG cells producing endogenous B-tropic type C virus. RAG cells expressed group specificities of MuLV p30 on their cell surface but did not express gp70 group specificities. However, type specificities of gp70 were expressed on BALB/c cell lines infected with Moloney leukaemia virus. The majority of p30 antigens detected on the RAG cell surface were removed by trypsin and their reappearance was prevented by cycloheximide, even in the presence of ‘conditioned medium’ containing MuLV. Passive adsorption of exogenous MuLV p30 to the surface of virus negative BALB/c fibroblasts reached a maximum of 20% of the protein detectable on virus producing RAG cells. These data support the hypothesis that much, but not all, of the surface p30 is expressed on the cell membrane and not derived from passive adsorption of p30 released from shed virus or as a by-product of virus infection of a cell.


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