This report outlines the B cell phenotype of transgenic mice that overexpresses the mouse CTLA-4-human gamma 1 (mCTLA4-H gamma 1) protein. Despite the fact that these mice prime CD4+ T cells (Ronchese, F., B. Housemann, S. Hubele, and P. Lane. 1994. J. Exp. Med. 179:809), antibody responses to T-dependent antigens are severely impaired. In contrast, T-independent responses are normal which suggests mCTLA4-H gamma 1 does not act directly on B cells, but acts indirectly by impairing T cell help. The impaired antibody defect is associated with impaired class switching, with low total immunoglobulin (Ig)G and antigen-specific IgG responses, and an absence of germinal center formation in spleen and lymph nodes but not gut-associated tissues. The defective germinal center formation is associated with a reduction in the degree of somatic mutation in hybridomas made from transgenic mice in comparison with those made from normal mice. It seems likely that mCTLA4-H gamma 1 exerts its effect by blocking an interaction between T and B cells that induce T cell help for B cells.

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