Flow cytometric analysis of T-independent antigen binding to dinitrophenyl-specific cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Binding of Ag to membrane Ig (mIg) can lead to either activation or desensitization of the B cell. For thymus-independent (TI) Ags the nature and concentration of the Ag determines what type of signal is delivered to the cell. These Ags are capable of directly activating B lymphocytes and are an important model system for the study of mechanisms involved in B cell responses. In this study, we quantified TI Ag binding and B cell receptor involvement as functions of TI Ag structure, concentration, and epitope density. Various epitope densities of two structurally different TI Ags, DNP-polymerized flagellin (pol) and DNP-dextran (dex), were labeled with tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate (TRITC) and reacted with DNP-specific murine splenic B lymphocytes and with cells of a cloned DNP-specific cell line. The amount of Ag bound to the cell surface at various doses was measured directly by flow cytometry. For each Ag and dose, FITC-labeled DNP-L-papain was used to quantitate receptor sites not occupied by Ag. Approximately 5% receptor occupancy was observed for immunogenic doses of Ag. Higher Ag concentrations that can induce tolerance caused a substantial increase in the fraction of occupied receptors. This suggests that tolerogenic responses result from an overly restrictive cross-linking of surface receptors. By comparing these data to previously published data on biologic activity of the Ags, we are able to more clearly define those conditions of Ag binding that lead to B cell activation.

published proceedings

  • J Immunol

author list (cited authors)

  • Woodard, S. L., Aldo-Benson, M., Roess, D. A., & Barisas, B. G.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Woodard, SL||Aldo-Benson, M||Roess, DA||Barisas, BG

publication date

  • January 1995