Recognition of antigens on cell surfaces only in the context of the MHC-encoded alloantigens of the presenting cell (self + X) has classically been considered the province of T cells. However, evidence from several sources has indicated that B cells and antibodies can exhibit self + X-restricted recognition as well. This report concerns the mAb response to SV40-transformed H-2b fibroblast cell lines. The specificities of the antibodies obtained have been analyzed for binding to a panel of SV40-transformed H-2-syngeneic, H-2-allogeneic, and H-2b mutant fibroblast cell lines, as well as cell lines not bearing cell surface SV40 transformation-associated antigens. A large proportion of primary C57BL/6 (71%) and BALB/c (68%) splenic B cells responding to in vitro stimulation with SV40-transformed H-2b cells recognize cell surface antigens associated with SV40 transformation only when coexpressed with MHC antigens of the immunizing cell, particularly the Kb molecule, on transformed cells. To extensively define the nature of antigen recognition by these antibodies, we have generated and characterized nine hybridoma antibodies specific for SV40-transformed H-2-syngeneic cell lines. Seven of these hybridoma antibodies recognize SV40-associated transformation antigens in the context of H-2b molecules. Six of these are restricted by the Kb molecule and discriminate among a panel of SV40-transformed Kb mutant cell lines, thus confirming the participation of class I MHC-encoded molecules in the recognition by B cells of cell surface antigens.

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