Cellular source of the IJ molecule

The initial studies which defined the I-J locus showed rather convincing evidence that I-J is produced by suppressor but not helper T cells. More recent studies have shown that I-J is not expressed in B cells. On the other hand, a subpopulation of helper cells, and some (but not all) helper T cell clones, appear to express the I-J molecule. It has been proposed that the I-J gene product expressed on T helper cells may represent an alternative 'form' of the I-J molecule, as certain monoclonal I-J-specific antibodies react only with suppressor or helper T cell I-J epitopes. Other monoclonal I-J-specific antibodies appear to react with both 'forms'.

Evidence has been reported by certain laboratories suggesting that I-J may be produced by macrophages. The nature of the expression of I-J on accessory cells remains unsettled. There is some evidence to suggest that macrophages bear a binding structure for I-J-positive suppressor factors. Anti-idiotypic antisera (generated in response to monoclonal I-J-specific antibodies) react in an I-J haplotype-specific manner with accessory cells. It has been suggested that the I-J restriction in the interaction between suppressor cell populations actually represents an l-J restriction between the suppressor cell factor and an accessory cell.

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