A novel monoclonal antibody (anti-B8.7) is reported which recognizes an epitope expressed either on in vitro activated B cells or on a fraction of fresh large B cells (putatively in vivo preactivated). B8.7 antigen is also present on two out of eight B cell lines tested and is characterized as a membrane component displaying an approximate molecular weight of 55,000 to 60,000. By contrast, B8.7 is absent from resting B cells, monocytes, resting or activated T cells, and from the eight non-B cell lines tested. After in vitro activation, B8.7 antigen appears later than the transferrin receptor and its expression increases until day 3. The anti-B8.7 monoclonal antibody induces a dose-related inhibition of the low molecular weight B cell growth factor-dependent proliferation of activated B cells, whereas it does not affect their response to interleukin 2. This strongly suggests that the B8.7 epitope is present on a molecule selectively involved in the interaction between B cells and a B cell growth factor.

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