Editors' ChoiceImmunology

For a single B cell, many roads to take

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Sci. Signal.  17 Feb 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 364, pp. ec38
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa9042

To successfully fight a pathogen, immunological B cells must wage a multipronged attack: They can differentiate into antibody-secreting plasma cells or become T cell–helping germinal center cells, or even long-lived memory cells. But can a single B cell acquire all of these different fates? To find out, Taylor et al. tracked the responses of single B cells in mice. Although some B cells acquired only one fate, others differentiated into all three. The authors linked the ability of B cells to differentiate into multiple subsets to their ability to proliferate and resist cell death, and the affinity of their antigen receptor.

J. J. Taylor, K. A. Pape, H. R. Steach, M. K. Jenkins, Apoptosis and antigen affinity limit effector cell differentiation of a single naïve B cell. Science 347, 784–787 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]