The Ia-associated chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) found in anti-Ia and anti-invariant chain immunoprecipitates was originally detected in [35S] sulfate-labeled extracts derived from unseparated populations of splenocytes. To determine whether the CSPG was produced only by a subpopulation of spleen cells, we examined various cell populations for their ability to produce the CSPG. We found that B lymphocytes were the predominant source of CSPG in the spleen. The synthesis of the Ia-associated CSPG in spleen cell cultures was not diminished by the depletion of T cells or adherent cells. Moreover, the CSPG was readily detected in lysates derived from the Lyb-5- B cell subsets of xid mice, splenocytes from athymic (nude) mice, and in vitro B cell hybridomas. Peritoneal exudate macrophages from indomethacin-treated mice were also found to be capable of producing the CSPG. In all of the studies performed to date, no dissociation of the synthesis of the CSPG from the synthesis of Ia was observed in any cell type. We therefore tentatively conclude that all cells that synthesize conventional Ia molecules also synthesize the CSPG. Finally, we have been able to use anion exchange chromatography to prepare proteoglycan-enriched fractions to isolate the CSPG. This purification step has allowed us to convincingly demonstrate that the CSPG can be labeled with amino acids, and is a necessary step for detecting amino acid-labeled CSPG. This purification step method was used in the accompanying report to begin a quantitative examination of the Ia/CSPG complex, to monitor the kinetics of CSPG synthesis and association with Ia, and to determine its subcellular localization.

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