We constructed expression vectors coding for the two pre-B-specific genes, VpreB and lambda 5, and transfected them together with a mu vector (mu tm) into Ig- myeloma cells. In a transfectant expressing all three introduced genes, the mu tm chain is transported on the cell surface. A biochemical analysis demonstrated that, in these cells, the mu tm chain is associated noncovalently with an 18-kD protein and covalently with a 22-kD protein, which are most likely the products of VpreB and lambda 5, respectively. Our results, thus, strongly suggest that the products of lambda 5 and VpreB bind to mu chains and have the same capacity as conventional Ig L chains to allow surface expression of mu chains.

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