The generation of plaque-forming cells (PFC) to T-dependent antigen, but not to T-independent antigen, is reduced in vitro by Lyb-2 antibody. Monoclonal Lyb-2 antibody, added to Mishell-Dutton cultures within the first 2 d, but not later, greatly reduces the generation of alpha-sheep erythrocyte (SRBC) PFC from T-depleted spleen cells whether help is provided in the form of intact T cells or as soluble factors contained in mixed lymphocyte culture (MLC) supernatants. Generation of alpha-SRBC PFC from purified B cells, assisted by soluble factors in MLC and macrophage (P388D.1 cell) supernatants, is similarly reduced by Lyb-2 antibody. The initial 2-d period, during which cultures are diminishingly sensitive to reduction of PFC generation by Lyb-2 antibody, is not affected by the time at which such soluble factors are added. Thus, Lyb-2 cell surface molecules evidently do not function as receptors for these differentiative signals. Reduction of PFC generation by Lyb-2 antibody is antigen dependent in the sense that reduction of the PFC response to one antigen (SRBC) does not affect subsequent generation of PFC to a second antigen (horse erythrocytes) from the same cell population. These findings accord with the view that the Lyb-2 molecule participates in a B cell differentiative phase, probably proliferative, which begins with binding of antigen and precedes the phase in which B cells become fully receptive to signals from T and other cells.

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