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Science 312 (5780): 1672-1676

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

Extrafollicular Activation of Lymph Node B Cells by Antigen-Bearing Dendritic Cells

Hai Qi, Jackson G. Egen, Alex Y. C. Huang, Ronald N. Germain*

Abstract: In contrast to naïve T cells that recognize short antigen-derived peptides displayed by specialized antigen-presenting cells, immunoglobulin receptors of B lymphocytes primarily recognize intact proteins. How and where within a lymph node such unprocessed antigens become available for naïve B cell recognition is not clear. We used two-photon intravital imaging to show that, after exiting high-endothelial venules and before entry into lymph node follicles, B cells survey locally concentrated dendritic cells. Engagement of the B cell receptor by the dendritic cell (DC)–associated antigen leads to lymphocyte calcium signaling, migration arrest, antigen acquisition, and extrafollicular accumulation. These findings suggest a possible role for antigen-specific B-DC interactions in promoting T cell–dependent antibody responses in vivo.

Lymphocyte Biology Section, Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: rgermain{at}

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