In the mouse, most anti-PC antibody is found in one of the three murine anti-PC idiotype families: T15, M603, or M511. The antibodies within each of these idiotypic families have characteristic fine specificities for phosphorylcholine (PC)-analogues. In this paper we compare the ability of hybridoma IgM anti-PC antibodies of the three idiotype families to protect mice from fatal infection with S. pneumoniae. Antibody bearing the T15 idiotype was approximately 8 times as effective as antibody with the M603 idiotype and approximately 30 times as protective as antibody with the M511 idiotype. Reports by others have shown that the heavy chains of virtually all mouse anti-PC antibodies are produced by translocation of a single variable region gene and that the direct translation of this gene (in the absence of somatic mutations) results in heavy chains characteristic of the T15 idiotype. Thus, our findings suggest that the T15 germ line heavy chain variable region gene may have been selected through evolution to code for antibody binding PC-containing pathogens such as S. pneumoniae. Our observations may also explain the existence of regulatory mechanisms that result in maintenance of T15 idiotype expression in murine anti-PC immune responses.

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