Targeted gene disruption reveals a role for natural secretory IgM in the maturation of the primary immune response.
Accelerated development of the secondary immune response may be attributable in part to the rapid delivery of antigen to lymphoid follicles by circulating antibody elicited on primary immunization. Here we provide evidence indicating that the nonspecific IgM present in naive mice (natural antibody) plays a role in the acceleration of the primary response. Targeted deletion of the Ig microseconds polyadenylation site by use of Cre recombinase allowed the creation of mice that, although harboring a normal number of B cells expressing surface IgM, completely lacked serum IgM while retaining the other Ig isotypes. These mice retained a broadly normal B lymphocyte distribution (although containing a somewhat expanded peritoneal B1a subset) but exhibited substantial delays in mounting affinity-matured IgG responses to T cell-dependent antigens. The T cell-independent response, however, was augmented. The data indicate that the IgM present before antigen challenge (as well, possibly, as that elicited immediately after immunization) accelerates maturation of the primary response, presumably by complexing with the antigen and facilitating lymphocyte activation and/or antigen trapping.
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