The synthetic single- and double-stranded polynucleotides, poly I, poly C, and poly I·C, were shown to induce thymidine incorporation in six inbred strains of murine spleen cells. This stimulation was shown to be secondary to B-cell activation and not due to contamination of the polynucleotides with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The ability of poly I·C to act as a B-cell mitogen, in addition to its behavior as a thymic-independent antigen, suggested that these two phenomena may be related. The similarity of the molecular structure of poly I·C to LPS, a material which also acts as a thymic-independent antigen and a B-cell mitogen, supports the hypothesis that the polyvalent nature of these materials accounts for their functional interaction with murine B cells.

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