A B cell-specific monoclonal antibody (anti-Ba) was prepared. In two-color FACS analysis the anti-Ba reacted with a subpopulation of Ig+ or B1+ cells obtained from tonsils, but did not react with most B1+ cells derived from PBL. Activation of B cells from PBL with TPA or anti-mu induced Ba expression and the addition of PHA-conditioned supernatant with anti-mu-enhanced Ba expression. Other B cell activators, such as Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I (Staph-A) or PWM plus T cells, could induce Ba expression. Ba expression was observed 6 hr after stimulation and reached a peak level at 72 hr. Ba expression was strictly restricted to B cells. H-7, a specific inhibitor of protein kinase C (C-kinase), displayed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on Ba expression, showing dependency on C-kinase for Ba expression. Anti-Ba inhibited B cell proliferation induced by anti-mu and B-BCGF distinct from BSF-1. The results presented in this study suggest that the Ba antigen on B cells may be comparable to the Tac antigen on T cells.

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