A/J mice immunized with p-azophenylarsonate coupled to keyhole limpet hemocyanin produce antibodies expressing a cross-reactive idiotype (CRIA). The pretreatment of A/J mice with anti-idiotypic polyclonal or monoclonal antibody directed against the major cross-reactive idiotype (CRIA) borne by p-azophenylarsonate-specific antibody can lead to idiotypic suppression. In this study, we investigate this idiotypic suppression by using four mAb2 (E4, H8, E3, 2D3) recognizing distinct idiotopes whose expression is related to the presence of particular gene segments of the heavy chain V region. 2D3 expression has been related to the presence of some amino acid in the CDR2 region of the VH gene segment derived from the germ line VH IdCR11. So far, the latter is the only germ-line gene coding for CRIA+ antibody that has been identified in the A/J genome. E4 and H8 expression has been related to the use of a particular D segment, whereas E3 expression has been attributed to certain combinations of D and JH segments. Therefore, we might expect independent regulation of the expression of those various idiotopes in relation to the mechanism of gene recombination. Indeed, we observed that 2D3-suppressed A/J mice still produce the three other idiotopes, suggesting the recombination of those particular D and J segments with a different VH gene. Such a gene has been identified in the genome of BALB/c mice. A/J mice pretreated with one of the other three mAb2 are generally cosuppressed for the expression of E4, H8, and E3, but they still produce 2D3+ antibody. In this case, the IdCR11 VH germ-line gene is most probably recombined with different D and J segments. Molecular evidence for the existence of such molecules has also been presented in the literature. So our serologic data on idiotopic suppression in the arsonate system can be compared with recent data provided by molecular genetics.

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