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Science 315 (5811): 528-531

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Imaging of Germinal Center Selection Events During Affinity Maturation

Christopher D. C. Allen,* Takaharu Okada,*{dagger} H. Lucy Tang,{ddagger} Jason G. Cyster{dagger}

Abstract: The germinal center (GC) is an important site for the generation and selection of B cells bearing high-affinity antibodies, yet GC cell migration and interaction dynamics have not been directly observed. Using two-photon microscopy of mouse lymph nodes, we revealed that GC B cells are highly motile and extend long cell processes. They transited between GC dark and light zones and divided in both regions, although these B cells resided for only several hours in the light zone where antigen is displayed. GC B cells formed few stable contacts with GC T cells despite frequent encounters, and T cells were seen to carry dead B cell blebs. On the basis of these observations, we propose a model in which competition for T cell help plays a more dominant role in the selection of GC B cells than previously appreciated.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{ddagger} Present address: Amgen Inc., 1120 Veterans Boulevard, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Takaharu.Okada{at} (T.O.); Jason.Cyster{at} (J.G.C.)

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