We have examined the contributions of Interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-5, and other stimuli to the expression of Immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgE in murine B lymphoblasts activated with anti-Ig. The combination of IL-4 and -5 induced B lymphoblasts to proliferate and to secrete IgM and IgG1. However, an additional stimulus was required along with IL-4 and -5 for induction of IgE secretion. This stimulus was provided by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or cytokines produced by TC-1 or EL4 cells. In the absence of IL-5, exceptionally high concentrations of IL-4 (greater than 1,000 U/ml) were required to elicit IgG1 and IgE secretion from B lymphoblasts cultured with either LPS or TC-1-conditioned media (CM). To investigate regulation of expression of gamma 1 and epsilon genes by IL-4, -5, and LPS, the requirements for induction of gamma 1 and epsilon germline and productive transcripts were examined. Germline gamma 1, but not epsilon, transcripts were detected in RNA from B lymphoblasts treated with IL-4 and -5 for 48 h. In contrast, both germline gamma 1 and epsilon transcripts could be detected in B lymphoblasts cultured with IL-4 and LPS, and steady state levels of germline gamma 1 transcripts were four- to sevenfold higher in blasts cultured with LPS and IL-4, compared with blasts cultured with IL-4 and -5. LPS enhanced steady state levels of germline transcripts induced by IL-4, but LPS did not promote substantial accumulation of productive gamma 1 and epsilon transcripts. In contrast, IL-5 did not affect steady state levels of germline transcripts stimulated by IL-4, but did markedly increase levels of productive gamma 1 and epsilon transcripts. Thus, lymphokines regulate two distinct events in isotype switching: induction of germline transcripts (IL-4), and production of VDJ-C gamma 1 and VDJ-C epsilon mRNA (IL-5), which leads to secretion of IgG1 and IgE.

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