Human B lymphocytes activated by mitogens or infected by Epstein Barr virus (EBV) have previously been shown to release colony-stimulating activity (CSA) supporting the growth of normal human bone marrow progenitors. We established five different human EBV-B cell lines spontaneously outgrown from nonmalignant peripheral blood cells and long-term bone marrow cultures. CSA derived from all of these lines induces the growth of murine macrophage colonies, whereas virtually no human bone marrow cell progenitors were stimulated. As observed in the tumor cell line MIA PaCa-2, a 4.3-kilobase (kb) transcript was detected in all cases using a human colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-1 probe. Expression of this transcript can be further stimulated within three hours upon addition of phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). The highly purified native protein exerting macrophage colony-stimulating activity (M-CSA) exhibits a molecular size of approximately 75 to 97 Kd in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). The identity of EBV-B cell derived M-CSA with human urinary CSF-1 was confirmed by a complete neutralization of macrophage CSA by an antihuman urinary CSF-1 antiserum. Normal human B lymphocytes purified from tonsils or from mononuclear blood cells also express CSF-1 upon stimulation with Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I. No CSF-1 expression, however, could be detected in normal resting B lymphocytes or in the Burkitt lymphoma cell line RAJI.

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