The ontogenic appearance and lymphoid tissue distribution of the murine B cell IgE FcR (Fc epsilon R) was examined. Flow cytometry was utilized to study the expression of the Fc epsilon R on splenic B cells from mice of increasing age, as well as B cells from various lymphoid organs. A large panel of B cell tumors was also screened for the presence of the Fc epsilon R. The results demonstrate that the Fc epsilon R appears very late in B cell development, and is preceded in appearance even by IgD. In adult animals, the Fc epsilon R was found to be expressed on virtually all mature IgM, IgD bearing B cells, whether taken from the spleen, lymph nodes, or Peyer's patches. Further examination showed that B cells which had switched to express an isotype other than IgD, appeared to no longer display the Fc epsilon R. When surveying a variety of B cell tumors, the Fc epsilon R was found to be present on WEHI 279, an IgM, IgD-bearing lymphoma. The receptor was not found on pre-B cell, immature B cell, switched B cell, or secreting B cell tumors. Taken together, these results indicate that the B cell Fc epsilon R is expressed predominantly on mature, virgin B cells, and is lost after activation and switching.

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