Immunoglobulin complexes, composed of heat-aggregated human Ig, were shown to bind to mouse B lymphocytes of a variety of strains, but not to either thymocytes or thymus-derived (T) lymphocytes under a variety of conditions. It was shown that this binding was not due to either natural human antibodies against mouse nor to nonspecific binding of human Ig by mouse lymphocytes. Such complexes were shown to bind to the same sites which bind mouse antibody-antigen complexes. This site is known as the Fc receptor.
The binding of Ig complexes to mouse B lymphocytes was markedly inhibited by pretreatment of the lymphocytes with anti-H-2 antisera. A series of experiments indicated the specificity of this result, including the fact that this inhibition was shown not to be due to the artifact of shedding of H-2 antibody-antigen complexes, nor to nonspecific steric inhibition.
The antibodies within anti-H-2 antisera which were responsible for this inhibition were specific for alloantigens associated with the Ir region of the H-2 complex (Ia antigens). Antiserum specific for these Ia antigens produced inhibition, whereas antisera specific for antigens determined by the K or D regions of the H-2 complex did not. Evidence was obtained using F1 hybrid cells that at least some Ia antigens of both parental types are expressed on every B lymphocyte (i.e. codominant expression).
These data indicate that the Fc receptor and a series of alloantigens controlled by the Ir region of the H-2 complex are identical or closely associated on the B-lymphocyte surface membrane. This observation may have implications for the mechanism of control of the immune response.