A monoclonal antibody, 1D10, was derived that identifies a new antigenic epitope on the surface of malignant B lymphocytes. Normal resting and stimulated lymphocytes do not express the antigen. The majority of individuals with acute Epstein-Barr virus infection express the antigen on their lymphocytes, and in these patients, the T lymphocyte may also be antigen positive. The antigen was found on B- lymphoid neoplasia from the early pre-B cell stage through terminally differentiated plasma cells, a characteristic not reported for other B cell-associated antigens. Studies on homozygous typing cells and cells from individuals with known HLA phenotypes indicate that the antigen does not segregate in a pattern characteristic for major histocompatibility antigens. The molecule is a heterodimeric polypeptide with the molecular weight and isoelectric points of the alpha and beta chains being 32,000 d/4 and 28,000 d/6, respectively. Evidence is presented that the 1D10 molecule is not HLA-DR, -DP, or - DQ. By extrapolation, we suggest that this novel molecule may represent HLA D-region gene expression of a gene(s) not normally expressed. Potential candidates are D-region pseudogenes. We conclude that the antigenic epitope identified by the 1D10 monoclonal antibody is unique among previously described B-lymphocyte antigens. Further studies of the factors controlling the expression of this molecule, as well as studies designed to look at the possible cellular function, may provide insights for understanding crucial events in the malignant transformation of lymphocytes.

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