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Author

Dana Wallace

Date of Award

4-27-2001

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Krista Fischer-Stenger

Abstract

The immune system is a large and complex system that plays a critical role in the protection of organisms from invading pathogens. One of the key components of the immune system is the humoral response, which is dependent upon antibody production by B lymphocytes, or B-cells. Secreted antibodies will recognize and bind to a pathogen, resulting in the eventual destruction of the pathogen.

However, this process is not initiated until B-cells are first activated. A key factor in B-cell activation is a cytokine named interleukin-4 (IL-4). IL-4, which is secreted by helper T-cells, another immune cell, serves as a B-cell differentiation factor and induces the synthesis of antibodies by the B-cells. (1) IL-4 binds to the IL-4 receptor on the surface ofB-cells. This receptor consists of the 140 k:Da IL-4Ra. chain that forms a heterodimer with the gamma common chain (yc). (2) This complex usually exists at 65-300 copies on resting B-cells. (3)

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