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Science 312 (5774): 738-741

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

B Cell Ligand Discrimination Through a Spreading and Contraction Response

S. J. Fleire,1 J. P. Goldman,2,3 Y. R. Carrasco,1 M. Weber,1 D. Bray,3 F. D. Batista1*

Abstract: B cells recognize foreign antigens by virtue of cell surface immunoglobulin receptors and are most effectively activated by membrane-bound ligands. Here, we show that in the early stages of this process, B cells exhibit a two-phase response in which they first spread over the antigen-bearing membrane and then contract, thereby collecting bound antigen into a central aggregate. The extent of this response, which is both signaling- and actin-dependent, determines the quantity of antigen accumulated and hence the degree of B cell activation. Brownian dynamic simulations reproduce essential features of the antigen collection process and suggest a possible basis for affinity discrimination. We propose that dynamic spreading is an important step of the immune response.

1 Lymphocyte Interaction Laboratory, London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PX, UK.
2 Computing Laboratory, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NF, UK.
3 Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: facundo.batista{at}cancer.org.uk


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