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Cell Structure and Function
Vol. 15 (1990) No. 2 P 85-91



The cytoplasmic affinity of polymeric IgA for secretory component (SC) and the expression of joining (J) chain were examined in pokeweed mitogen (PWM)-stimulated human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) to determine, on the ultrastructural level, the polymerization sites of human IgA. SC-binding was found in 5.7% of transformed PBL on day 7 of culture; SC-binding was observed in a high proportion of IgA-producing cells. A low proportion of IgM-producing cells also bound to SC, while there was virtually no SC-binding by IgG-producing cells. A high proportion of IgA- and IgM-producing cells expressed intracellular J chain, while approximately half of the IgG-producing cells were positive for J chain.
The number of J chain-positive cells exceeded the number of SC-binding cells among transformed PBL on day 7 of culture. Immunoelectron microscopic study of the sites of SC-binding, and of IgA and J chain expression, revealed that polymerization of human IgA and the addition of J chain occur in the perinuclear space and endoplasmic reticulum, prior to immunoglobulin secretion.

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