The role of murine recombinant T cell replacing factor (rTRF) (interleukin 5) in the early activation, proliferation, and antibody-forming cell (AFC) clone formation of single fluorescein (FLU)-specific B cells was examined in vitro. FLU-specific B cells were selected by their adherence to FLU-gelatin and then cultured in 10-microliters wells with or without rTRF in the presence or absence of the T-independent antigen FLU-polymerized flagellin (FLU-POL). rTRF acting alone was unable to induce early B cell activation as assessed by significant cell enlargement after 24 hr in culture. When acting in the presence of FLU-POL, however, a greater number of B cells were induced to enlarge than with FLU-POL alone. When FLU-specific B cells were cultured in the presence of FLU-POL, the addition of rTRF markedly increased the frequencies of both proliferating clones and AFC clones above that induced by FLU-POL alone. Furthermore, in the presence of FLU-POL, the activity of rTRF was comparable to that seen with the mixture of B cell growth and differentiation factors contained within the supernatant from concanavalin A-stimulated EL4 cells. However, rTRF exerted little activity when acting alone in contrast to the medium conditioned by concanavalin A-stimulated EL4 cells which showed some activity in the absence of FLU-POL. rTRF acting with FLU-POL also promoted AFC clone development among single B cells stimulated in the presence of 3T3 fibroblast filler cells. Thus rTRF can be added to the list of B cell active factors (including recombinant murine interleukin 1 and recombinant human interleukin 2) that act in the concomitant presence of antigen to induce both growth and differentiation among single hapten-specific murine splenic B cells. This stands in contrast to the activity seen with interleukin 4 (formerly termed B cell stimulatory factor 1) which acts to promote early activation and proliferation but not IgM secretion.

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