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Cell. 1981 Feb;23(2):369-78.

Expression of J chain RNA in cell lines representing different stages of B lymphocyte differentiation.


During B cell differentiation to pentamer IgM secretion, synthesis of the pentamer joining component, the J chain, is initiated. We investigated the mechanism for initiating J chain synthesis by analyzing murine cell lines representing different stages in B cell differentiation. The expression of functional J chain mRNA was evaluated by cell-free translation and specific immunoprecipitation of a J chain product. The expression of precursor mRNA was examined by hybridization with a J chain probe obtained by molecular cloning of cDNA. No J chain-specific RNA could be demonstrated in a lymphoma line representative of an undifferentiated B lymphocyte, but three species of J chain RNA were identified in hybrid cell lines representative of IgM-secreting plasma cells: a mature message of approximately 1.5 kb and two minor components of 2.5 and 0.92 kb. The encounter of a B cell with antigen or mitogen must therefore trigger events that effect either transcription of J chain sequences or their intranuclear stabilization.

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