Detergent-insoluble microdomains, or rafts, act as a platform to transduce signals from the extracellular space into the cytoplasm. In the process of developing monoclonal antibodies against raft molecules for the purpose of studying the molecular mechanism of raft-mediated signaling, we observed the uniqueness and certain advantages of immunization with rafts. Simple subcutaneous injection of mice with a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) suspension of rafts without mixing with Freund's adjuvant made it possible to increase the titer of antiserum reacting with raft components. Interestingly, injection of rafts prepared from certain specific cell lines induced monoglycolipid-specific antibodies. Furthermore, antibodies were produced by raft-immunization of even syngeneic mice. Our findings suggest that this phenomenon does not represent a breakdown of immunological self-tolerance, but typical immune reactions accompanying the class switch from IgM antibodies to IgG antibodies.
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