Lymphocyte growth and differentiation are controlled by signals resulting from the interaction of antigen and cellular products, such as lymphokines, with specific cell membrane receptors. Resting B lymphocytes can be activated by low concentrations (1-5 μg/ml) of antibodies to membrane IgM, which is the B-lymphocyte receptor for antigen. The binding of anti-IgM to B cells causes a rapid increase in intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i), in inositol phosphate concentration, and in protein kinase activity. Moreover, the effects of anti-IgM on B cells are mimicked by the combined use of calcium ionophores and phorbol esters. Since phorbol esters activate protein kinase c, this suggests that the increase in [Ca2+]i and in phosphatidylinositol metabolism stimulated by anti-IgM are critical events in B-cell activation. The entry into S phase of B cells stimulated with anti-IgM depends on the action of a T-cell-derived factor designated B-cell stimulatory factor (BSF)-1. This is a 20,000-Da protein which is a powerful inducer of class II major histocompatibility complex molecules. Although an important cofactor for B-cell proliferative responses to anti-IgM, its major locus of action is on resting B cells. B cells stimulated with anti-IgM and BSF-1 do not synthesize secretory IgM. However, if two additional T-cell-derived factors, B151-TRF and interleukin-2, are added to cultures, a substantial proportion of stimulated B cells produce secretory IgM. BSF-1 has also been shown to participate in the "switch" in Ig class expression. Resting B cells cultured with lipopolysaccharide will switch to IgG1 secretion in the presence of purified BSF-1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas