We tested the proliferative responses of splenocytes from a panel of inbred mouse strains to AVIS, a B cell mitogen from Actinomyces viscosus bacteria. The SM/J strain was found to exhibit severalfold higher responsiveness than any of the other strains. SM/J splenocytes were also hyperresponsive to the B cell mitogens lipopolysaccharide, dextran sulfate, and purified protein derivative of tuberculin, but responsiveness to the T cell mitogen phytohemagglutinin was normal. (B6 X SM)F1 and F1 x B6 backcross mice were tested for AVIS and lipopolysaccharide responsiveness, and it was determined that hyperresponsiveness was under polygenic, autosomal, non-H-2-linked gene control. Genetic control of response to B mitogens in SM/J mice appears to be expressed solely through the B lymphocyte because removal of T lymphocytes or macrophages did not reduce the magnitude of responsiveness in vitro. SM/J mice may provide a useful model for testing questions regarding B cell triggering, differentiation, and function, and to examine the genes involved with B cell proliferation.

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