Two hybridoma cell lines were established with B cells derived from neonatal BALB/c spleen cells. The anti-dinitrophenyl (DNP) antibodies derived from these lines were characterized with respect to their isotype, affinity, and isoelectric point. Antiidiotypic reagents were prepared that permit an analysis of the representation of antibodies sharing idiotype with these two hybridomas in the developing and mature B cell pool of BALB/c mice (Igha) and other murine strains. One of the two antibodies, TF2-36, was found to be indistinguishable from 14% of anti-DNP monoclonal antibodies derived in fragment culture from spleen cells of 1-4-d-old BALB/c donors. B cells expressing this idiotype were found to represent approximately 2% of the anti-DNP-specific repertoire after the 1st wk of neonatal development and into adulthood. The second hybridoma antibody, TF2-76, was found to be expressed at very low levels during the first several days of neonatal development; however, B cells expressing this idiotype increased in frequency during the 2nd wk of neonatal development representing 7% of all DNP-responsive B cells 12-13 d after birth. The proportion of B cells expressing this idiotype also decreased to approximately 2% in adults. The relatively late appearance of B cells bearing this idiotype was confirmed by their susceptibility to tolerance induction after the 1st wk of neonatal development. Both the early neonatal clonotype, TF2-36, and the late neonatal antibody clonotype, TF2-76, were found to be expressed in a similar fashion in F1 mice constructed between Igha and Ighb parentals, but both were expressed at very low levels during the development of Ighb mice. Thus, the control of the magnitude of expression of these neonatal clonotypes appears to be associated with the Igh locus.

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