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Sci. Signal., 31 January 2012
Vol. 5, Issue 209, p. ec37
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002895]


Immunology Antigen Polarity in B Cell Differentiation

Kristen L. Mueller

Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Communication received through cell contact is critical for the differentiation of specialized effector cell populations during the immune response. For example, B lymphocytes acquire antigen that they present to helper T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes, in turn, provide key differentiation signals to B lymphocytes. To learn more about this process, Thaunat et al. (see the Perspective by Dustin and Meyer-Hermann) used multiphoton microscopy and imaging flow cytometry to visualize the localization of antigen in B lymphocytes during an immune response. Antigen acquired by B lymphocytes exhibited a polarized distribution that was sustained over several rounds of cell division. This produced a population of activated B lymphocytes that contained very low levels of antigen. Daughter cells that received more antigen were better able to stimulate T cells. Because cues received through T lymphocyte interactions are likely to influence B lymphocyte fate decisions, unequal distribution of antigen in dividing B lymphocytes may influence their differentiation.

O. Thaunat, A. G. Granja, P. Barral, A. Filby, B. Montaner, L. Collinson, N. Martinez-Martin, N. E. Harwood, A. Bruckbauer, F. D. Batista, Asymmetric segregation of polarized antigen on B cell division shapes presentation capacity. Science 335, 475–479 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. L. Dustin, M. Meyer-Hermann, Antigen feast or famine. Science 335, 408–409 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: K. L. Mueller, Antigen Polarity in B Cell Differentiation. Sci. Signal. 5, ec37 (2012).

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