Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of rabbits previously hyperimmunized against streptococcal groups A and A-variant antigens were stimulated in vitro by the corresponding vaccines to produce group-specific antibody. This response was dependent on an optimal cell density (2 X 10(6) cells/ml), on the presence of antigen, it was specific and cross-reactive due to a shared rhamnose backbone of the two polysaccharide antigens, and it was highly selective, such that in a 42-55-day culture 1 out of 20 viable cells was a specific PFC. During the exponential increase of the antibody concentration at a constant number of PFC, antibodies were secreted at a rate of 2.4 X 10(4) molecules/s per cell until a plateau level of antibody (40 mug/culture) was reached. The microculture system was used to determine the minimal frequency of group polysaccharide-specific precursor cells in the blood. Independent of the time elapsed since the last immunization this frequency was 1-3 X 10(-5), i.e., in the range of 1-2.8 X 10(2) precursor cells per ml blood. This number was further used together with the clonotype analysis of the culture supernates to calculate the frequencies of precursors of major and minor clonotypes. A hierachy of persisting clonal memory precursor cells was found indicating that clonal dominance is determined by locked-in frequency patterns and therefore it is a phenomenon based on numbers of cells that respond to the antigen.
Antibody response of rabbit blood lymphocytes in vitro. Kinetics, clone size, and clonotype analysis in response to streptococcal group polysaccharide antigens.
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D G Braun, J Quintáns, A L Luzzati, I Lefkovits, S E Read; Antibody response of rabbit blood lymphocytes in vitro. Kinetics, clone size, and clonotype analysis in response to streptococcal group polysaccharide antigens.. J Exp Med 1 February 1976; 143 (2): 360–371. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.143.2.360
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