To analyze in vivo the induction of B cell tolerance against a T cell surface antigen, we generated transgenic mice expressing an anti-CD8.2 mu heavy chain gene. We show that self-specific B cells are efficiently tolerized if they express the membrane-bound form of the transgenic mu chain on their surface but that they can escape tolerization if they express only the secreted form. In the latter, we find an enhanced expression of anti-CD8.2 antibodies after polyclonal B cell activation. As a result, transgenic anti-CD8.2 antibodies bind to the CD8+ T cells but they did not induce their elimination. Furthermore, we observed the preferential expression of a limited subset of endogenous light chains with the transgenic mu chain. This suggests a positive or negative selection for particular heavy and light chain combinations in B lymphocytes.

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