Lyb 5 is a B-cell alloantigen which is expressed on 50-60% of B cells. It was defined originally on the basis of cytotoxicity. We have described a new reactivity within the anti-Lyb 5 serum on the basis of selective inhibition of antibody responses in vitro by this antiserum in the absence of complement. This inhibitory activity of anti-Lyb 5.1 serum appears to be due to recognition of antigenic determinants different from the prototype antigens detected in the cytotoxicity assay. Anti-Lyb 5 serum incorporated into spleen cell cultures selectively inhibits antibody responses to a class of thymus-independent antigens (TI-2) previously characterized by their failure to elicit antibody formation in immature mice or in the defective CBA/N strain. Responses to optimal concentrations of TI-1 antigens, which can induce antibody synthesis in these mice, are unaffected by the addition of anti-Lyb 5.1 serum. The B-cell alloantigen defined by this functional assay is designated tentatively Lyb 7 and it is shown to be distinct from cell surface immunoglobulins. Lyb 7 appears to have a role in the activation of B lymphocytes by the TI-2 class of thymus-independent antigens.

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