The molecular events leading to immunoglobulin E (IgE) synthesis in human sIgE- B cells stimulated with interleukin 4 (IL-4) and anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody (mAb) 626.1 were analyzed. Anti-CD40 mAb increased the levels of IL-4-induced germline C epsilon transcripts and induced the production of mature C epsilon mRNA. These effects were dependent on the presence of IL-4. Nested primer PCR revealed deletional switch recombination occurring only in B cell stimulated with both IL-4 and anti-CD40 mAb. DNA sequence analysis of switch fragments showed direct S mu/S epsilon joining, without the deletions or duplications within S mu often found in B cells stimulated with IL-4 and Epstein-Barr virus. Analysis of the switch junction map sites showed "hot spots" for recombination within S mu, but not within S epsilon. These findings indicate that IL-4 provides a signal to B cells to induce germline C epsilon transcription and concurrent CD40 engagement induces S mu/S epsilon deletional switch recombination, production of mature C epsilon mRNA, and IgE synthesis.

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