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Developmental Immunology
Volume 1, Issue 3, Pages 203-212

Antigen-Independent Selection of T15 Idiotype During B-Cell Ontogeny In Mice

1Division of Developmental and Clinical Immunology, Department of Microbiology, and The Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA
2263 Tumor Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Station, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA

Received 16 October 1990; Accepted 20 December 1990

Copyright © 1991 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Precursors of B cells capable of responding to a T-independent form of phosphorylcholine (PC) in splenic focus assays were detected in the spleens of neonatal mice as early as 4 days after birth. The earliest anti-PC B cells were T15-. T15+ foci-forming B cells were first detected 6 days after birth and expanded rapidly to constitute greater than 80% of the total PC-specific foci by day 10. Injection of heat-killed S. pneumoniae (R36A) into neonatal mice resulted in priming of the antibody response to PC, with an idiotype profile reflecting that of precursors of foci-forming B cells at the time of antigen administration. Priming of 2-dayold mice with 2 X106 and 2 X107 R36A induced a five- and ten-fold increase in the antibody response to phosphorylcholine 6 to 8 weeks later. However, only 10 to 15% of the serum antibodies expressed the normally dominant T15 idiotype. Doses below 2 x105 R36A showed no detectable priming activity. PC-specific hybridomas derived from mice injected with 2 X107 R36A 2 days after birth lacked the idiotypic and molecular characteristics typical of T15+ antibodies. Antibodies to phosphorylcholine, raised by immunization of 6-week-old mice are normally protective against pneumococcal infection. However, serum antibodies from mice treated with R36A 2 days after birth and responding to phosphorylcholine following challenge with R36A at 6 weeks of age failed to protect against deliberate infection with virulent S. pneumoniae. These observations imply that the antigen phosphorylcholine does not play a role in the selective expansion and dominant expression of the T15 idiotype.