Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Antigen Polarity in B Cell Differentiation

Science Signaling  31 Jan 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 209, pp. ec37
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002895

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]