Despite a detailed knowledge of the antigen-specific receptor expressed on the membrane of B lymphocytes, the precise mechanism by which B lymphocytes are activated during an antigenic encounter has remained an area of controversy. Contending viewpoints originally attributed induction of proliferation to the delivery of signals at membrane-bound immunoglobulin (Ig) itself, at membrane-bound Ia molecules, or at uncharacterized membrane-bound mitogen receptors. However, the recent discovery of soluble factors specifically involved in B-cell proliferation has undermined such simplistic models. Now a more tenable hypothesis would seem to be that occupancy of membrane Ig (or mitogen receptors) by antigen andJor cognate T-cell interactions involving the Ia antigens of resting B cells results in functional expression of receptors for soluble proliferation cofactors and that it is these factors that in turn stimulate B cells to replicate. This chapter discusses the biological and biochemical nature of such B-cell pecific proliferation cofactors (B-cell growth factors) and considers what is currently known of their role in B-cell activation and development.
KeywordsPhorbol Myristate Acetate Thymidine Uptake Tenable Hypothesis Phenyl Sepharose Chromatography Involve Ammonium Sulfate Precipitation
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