We have constructed a soluble chimeric fusion protein between the mouse CD8 alpha chain and the mouse CD40 T cell ligand. This protein binds to both human and mouse B cells. By itself it induced a modest degree of B cell proliferation, but together with anti-immunoglobulin (anti-Ig) antibody it greatly stimulated B cell proliferation, as determined by both [3H]thymidine uptake and increase in cell numbers. These data are evidence that the CD40 ligand on T cells provides a signal that drives B cell proliferation. This signal is synergistic with that delivered by anti-Ig antibody.

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