Immunization with antigen bound to bispecific antibody induces antibody that is restricted in epitope specificity and contains antiidiotype.
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Mice can be efficiently immunized in the absence of adjuvant using chemically cross-linked bispecific antibody (biAb) that bind to both class II MHC molecules and a protein Ag of interest. In our experiments, mice were immunized with the protein Ag hen egg lysozyme (HEL) bound to several different biAb, each of which contained a different mAb specific for a distinct (nonoverlapping) epitope of HEL. Primary and secondary serum antibody responses of the immunized mice were analyzed for their specificity for different epitopes of HEL. The results show that immunization with each HEL-biAb complex produced a bias in the epitope specificity of the primary antibody response. This bias was determined by the individual specificity of the anti-HEL mAb used in each biAb. The primary response was dominated by antibody reacting with epitopes distinct from that bound by the mAb in the immunizing complex, and was deficient in antibody that recognized the epitope bound by the biAb during immunization. This bias in antibody specificity was maintained during the secondary antibody response that followed a single challenge with soluble HEL alone. However, an additional challenge with HEL induced a switch in the specificity pattern, with increased amounts of antibody against the epitope that was previously ignored. In addition, immunization with Ag bound to biAb resulted in a substantial primary anti-Id response, detected by serum antibody specific only for the Fab'2 fragment of the mAb used in the biAb. These studies illustrate two unique features of immunization using biAb that allow for fine manipulation of the epitope specificity and anti-Id repertoires of the antibody response to whole protein Ag.
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