Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Passing Through

Science's STKE  20 Jun 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 340, pp. tw207
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3402006tw207

In the immune system, B cells and T cells both recognize antigen and are thought to do so by distinct means. T cells require specialized antigen-presenting cells, called dendritic cells (DCs), to pick up protein at peripheral tissues, which they then process and present as peptides to T cells within the organized lymphoid tissues. Using intravital imaging in mice, Qi et al. reveal that some B cells encounter antigen in a rather similar way on DCs as they exit from the blood and before they migrate to the specialized B cell regions of the lymph nodes, called follicles. B cells that recognized antigen in this way started to show signs of activation and slowed down their migratory behavior within T cell-rich areas. Such slow-moving, activated B cells would increase their chances of garnering the critical help of T cells required for them to produce antibodies.

H. Qi, J. G. Egen, A. Y. C. Huang, R. N. Germain, Extrafollicular activation of lymph node B cells by antigen-bearing dendritic cells. Science 312, 1672-1676 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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