We established a novel monoclonal antibody, RP/14, that can protect B cells from apoptosis induced by irradiation or dexamethasone. A molecule recognized by RP/14 (the RP antigen) was expressed on B cells with B220bright, IgMdull, and IgDbright. Immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that RP/14 recognized a monomeric protein with an approximate molecular mass of 105 kD. Stimulation of B cells with RP/14 for 48 h induced B cell proliferation and blastogenesis. In contrast to B cells of wild-type mice, X-linked immunodeficient (XID) B cells did not proliferate upon stimulation with RP/14, although the RP antigen was expressed to the same extent as that of wild-type B cells. These results suggest that the RP antigen-mediated signaling pathway is important for rescuing B cells from apoptosis and is deficient in XID B cells.

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