B lymphocytes capable of generating primary IgM and IgG plaque-forming cells (PFC) responses to burro erythrocytes have surface IgD, as do primary IgM PFC. IgG memroy cells arising after one injection of antigen are divided into two groups, one of which expresses surface IgD while the other has no detectable membrane IgD. PFC generated from the IgG memory cells lacking surface IgD show a higher average avidity than those arising from IgD-positive IgG memory cells, indicating that mature IgG memory cells do not have surface IgD. After more than one injection of antigen, few, if any, IgG memory cells have surface IgD. IgG PFC arising in primary or secondary immune response lack membrane-bound IgD. These data provide the outlines for a B-cell maturation pathway in which IgD marks unprimed and early memory B cells and is lost in mature memory cells. Studies presented here were conducted by isolating IgD+ and IgD- cells with the fluorescence-activated cell sorter and functional testing of the isolated populations in adoptive transfer experiments.

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