Research ArticleImmunology

Profiling the origin, dynamics, and function of traction force in B cell activation

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Sci. Signal.  07 Aug 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 542, eaai9192
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aai9192

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B cells use the force

B cells recognize antigens through membrane-bound antibodies that are part of the B cell receptor (BCR). Antigen recognition stimulates BCR-dependent intracellular signaling that is required for B cell activation. Noting that B cells first spread over antigen-presenting surfaces before contracting, Wang et al. used traction force microscopy to measure the displacing forces exerted by B cells on fluorescent beads coated onto antigen-containing gel surfaces of different stiffness values. The authors found that memory B cells generated greater traction forces than did naïve B cells and that the strength of these forces was correlated with increased BCR microcluster mean fluorescent intensity. In addition, B cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis exerted greater traction forces than did B cells from healthy donors, which may play a role in the enhanced activation of autoreactive B cells observed in these patients.