We have recently reported that resting B cells must receive at least three different signals in a T helper cell (TH)-dependent as well as in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced B cell response (3), i.e., a specific TH signal (that can be bypassed by LPS), a nonspecific TH signal (mediated by Ia or antigen-nonspecific B cell helper factor), and an antigen (hapten) signal. In a system using male (H-Y) antigen-specific cloned TH of C57BL/6 origin and male (or female) B cells, we now confirm and extend these findings by demonstrating that H-Y-specific TH must see both H-Y and Ia determinants on the B cells (and not only on macrophages) to provide the first specific TH signal required for a plaque-forming cell (PFC) response. This signal was interfered with by a monoclonal anti-I-Ab antibody at the B cell level, was not mediated by detectable soluble factors (in contrast to the nonspecific signal also provided by the TH), and could be bypassed by LPS, in which case anti-I-Ab antibody had no effect. However, although the H-Y-specific TH induced a polyclonal PFC response (B cell differentiation) in the apparent absence of an antigen seen by the B cells, significant clonal expansion of PFC precursors occurred only when the B cells also recognized an antigen (hapten).

This content is only available as a PDF.