Induction of switch recombination to the gamma 1 and epsilon immunoglobulin (Ig) heavy chain loci was examined in B cells preactivated with anti-Ig (B lymphoblasts). In B lymphoblasts cultured with interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-5 induced the accumulation of S micro-S gamma 1 rearrangements, but not epsilon recombination. Thus, IL-5 facilitates switch recombination directed to the gamma 1 heavy chain locus by IL-4, but additional signals are required to drive rearrangements to epsilon. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), in the presence of IL-4, induced the accumulation of both S micro-S gamma 1 and S micro-S epsilon rearrangements, and cells treated with LPS exhibited 40-50-fold more S micro-S gamma 1 rearrangements than cells cultured with IL-5. Induction of switch recombination was not always associated with secretion of the respective Ig isotype, since concentrations of IL-4 that were sufficient to direct switch recombination to gamma 1 and epsilon in blasts treated with LPS failed to elicit secretion of IgG1 and IgE. These results demonstrate differential requirements for switch recombination to the gamma 1 and epsilon loci, as well as independent regulation of Ig gene rearrangement and secretion of each isotype.

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