Positive Selection of Natural Autoreactive B Cells

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Science  02 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5424, pp. 113-116
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5424.113

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Lymphocyte development is critically influenced by self-antigens. T cells are subject to both positive and negative selection, depending on their degree of self-reactivity. Although B cells are subject to negative selection, it has been difficult to test whether self-antigen plays any positive role in B cell development. A murine model system of naturally generated autoreactive B cells with a germ line gene–encoded specificity for the Thy-1 (CD90) glycoprotein was developed, in which the presence of self-antigen promotes B cell accumulation and serum autoantibody secretion. Thus, B cells can be subject to positive selection, generated, and maintained on the basis of their autoreactivity.

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