New Zealand Black (NZB) mice exhibit polyclonal B cell activation and elevated immunoglobulin production, an abnormality associated with the spontaneous autoimmune disease that affects this strain. To further our understanding of this abnormality of B cell differentiation and maturation, we have employed two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to analyze the proteins synthesized by lymphocytes of several strains. Two proteins were produced by lymphocytes from NZB mice but not those from normal strains. One was a 16 kd protein with a pI of 5.1, and the other was a 27.5 kd protein with a pI of 4.5. The presence of the xid gene on the NZB background suppressed production of both proteins. They were synthesized by spleen cells but not by bone marrow or lymph node cells, and production was restricted to enlarged B lymphocytes. p16 was synthesized by normal mouse strain B cells upon stimulation with LPS. The 27.5 kd protein was shown to be secreted. On the basis of partial amino acid sequence determination of proteins eluted from gels, p27.5 was identified as J chain and p16 as the C terminal fragment of mu-chain. The synthesis of two other proteins, 13 kd and 18 kd in size, was elevated in NZB spleen lymphocytes. The 18 kd protein was identified as translation initiation factor eIf-4D. The increased level of this protein may be related to the upregulation of immunoglobulin synthesis.

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