The biologic activity of molecules synthesized and secreted by hapten-specific inducer T cells was examined. After activation, a single inducer clone secretes both antigen-specific inducer peptides as well as nonspecific factors. The nonspecific factors augment the in vitro response of B cells to sheep erythrocytes (SRBC) and Type 2 T-independent antigens. The antigen-specific molecules (ABM) induce plaque-forming cell (PFC) responses in cultures containing ABM, B cells, and antigen that links the epitope recognized by ABM with the B cell epitope. Induction of B cells by ABM is limited to B cells expressing the same I-A allele as the source of the ABM and this reflects binding by ABM to I-A products on B lymphocytes. The data reported here strongly support the view that inducer cells can activate at least some B cells by secretion of a modified form of the T cell surface receptor.

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