In the present study, a modification of the splenic focus system is used to analyze the S. typhimurium strain TML (TML)-specific B cell repertoire. The results show that the frequency of primary TML-specific splenic B cells in CBA/Ca mice is approximately 1 per 10(5) B cells and less than 30% of these B cells are specific for LPS. In contrast, the frequency of memory TML-specific cells is approximately 1 per 5-8 X 10(3) splenic B cells and greater than 95% of these B cells are specific for LPS. These results suggest that the frequency of primary TML-specific B cells is extremely low and that it expands 15-20-fold after antigen exposure. It is interesting that less than 30% of the primary B cells are specific for the LPS molecule since it is considered to be the major antigenic determinant on Salmonella organisms. Furthermore, the majority of the LPS-specific anti-TML antibody-producing clones are directed against the LPS O antigen region. Conversely, more than half to two-thirds of the memory LPS-specific anti-TML B cell clones are directed against the KDO or lipid A region of the LPS molecule. These results indicate that the preferential expansion of LPS-specific B cell clones observed after immunization resides primarily in the B cell subsets responsive to the KDO/lipid A moieties on the LPS molecule. Finally, unlike B cell responses to chemically defined antigens, TML stimulates very little IgG1 antibody. IgG2 and IgA isotypes appear to play a predominant role in anti-TML antibody responses, although all H chain classes are produced to some extent. Collectively, these findings are consistent with the responses reported for two other natural antigens, HA and PC. Hence, the pattern of stimulation by infectious agents, such as S. typhimurium, appears to be distinct from that of synthetic antigens. Thus, the studies presented herein have begun to provide insights into those subsets of B cells responsive to S. typhimurium and other infectious disease organisms.

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