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Developmental Immunology
Volume 6, Issue 1-2, Pages 81-87

Presence of Germline and Full-Length IgA RNA Transcripts Among Peritoneal B-1 Cells

1Department of Histology and Cell Biology, University of Groningen, Groningen 9713 EZ, The Netherlands
2Department of Genetics, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, California 94305, USA
3AmCell Corporation, 1190 Bordeaux Drive, Sunnyvale, California 94089, USA
4Department of Histology and Cell Biology, University of Groningen, Oostersinge169-1, Groningen 9713 EZ, The Netherlands

Accepted 30 May 1997

Copyright © 1998 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.


Next to conventional B cells (or B-2 cells), peritoneal B-1 cells have been shown to contribute significantly to the production of IgA-secreting plasma cells in the gut. Evidence for this was mainly based on studies comprising manipulated animals, including lethally X-irradiated and transgenic mice. To examine the ability of peritoneal B-1 cells from untreated mice to switch actively to IgA in vivo, we performed RT-PCR analysis on FACS-sorted peritoneal B-cell subsets from untreated BALB/c mice in order to examine the presence of germline Cα mRNA and mature Cα mRNA transcripts. Germline Cα and mature Cα transcripts were readily detectable in peritoneal B-1 cells (defined as IgMbright/IgDdull), but not, or very little, in peritoneal B-2 cells (defined as IgMdull/IgDbright). Moreover, by subdividing the B-l-cell population in CD5+ B-1a cells and CD5- B-1b cells, it was shown that in vivo expression of germline Cα and mature Cα transcripts was largely restricted to the B-1b-cell lineage. These results indicate that peritoneal B-1 cells indeed are capable to switch to IgA under normal physiological conditions and hereby further support the view that B-1 cells contribute significantly to the mucosal IgA response, albeit this function appears to be restricted to the B-1b-cell subset.