Inside B Cell Central

Science's STKE  30 Jan 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 371, pp. tw39
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3712007tw39

B cells become effective factories for antibody production only after they have gone through a series of maturation steps that select clones of B cells carrying somatic mutations for high-affinity antibody. This process takes place in the germinal center, where B cells are also thought to compete vigorously for available antigen. Using intravital microscopy, Allen et al. observed that the behavior of germinal center B cells is more consistent with a competition for the attention of helper T cells than for scarce antigen. This finding could prove useful in considering how best to stimulate robust immune responses with vaccines.

C. D. C. Allen, T. Okada, H. L. Tang, J. G. Cyster, Imaging of germinal center selection events during affinity maturation. Science 315, 528-531 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]