The development of competence in resting B cells. The induction of cyclic AMP and ornithine decarboxylase activity after direct contact between B and T helper cells

K. E. Pollok, V. O'Brien, L. Marshall, J. W. Olson, R. J. Noelle, E. C. Snow

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In the present communication, an experimental approach is utilized that facilitates the study of biochemical processes induced in B cells after their interaction with Th cells. In this approach, Th cell clones are stimulated for 18 h upon anti-CD3-coated plates, fixed with paraformaldehyde, and added at a 2 to 3:1 ratio to small, resting B cells (isolated from Percoll gradients). Th cells not stimulated on anti-CD3-coated plates, but fixed with paraformaldehyde, serve as controls for these experiments. The activated, fixed Th cells induce a transient, sixfold increase in B cell levels of cAMP, as well as an increase in B cell expression of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity. This enzyme initiates the synthesis of polyamines and has been shown to be increased as cells enter the growth phase. In addition, previous studies have shown that the cellular levels of ODC activity are controlled by a multitiered regulatory cascade. To examine this aspect, polyclonally stimulated B cells were studied. Such cells demonstrated a gradual increase in ODC mRNA levels that peaked between 6 and 15 h and can be partially explained by a three- to fourfold increase in mRNA stability but not by changes in the enzyme affinity for substrate. The increase in ODC mRNA occurs in the absence of protein synthesis, suggesting that the ODC gene is a member of the immediate/early gene family. Finally, the early increase in ODC mRNA was enhanced in cells in which cAMP levels were artificially elevated, suggesting the possibility that the cAMP-dependent signaling pathway participates during the regulation of this gene expression. The significance of these experimental results concerning the process of B cell activation is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1633-1641
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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