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B Cell Ligand Discrimination Through a Spreading and Contraction Response

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Science  05 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5774, pp. 738-741
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123940

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Abstract

B cells recognize foreign antigens by virtue of cell surface immunoglobulin receptors and are most effectively activated by membrane-bound ligands. Here, we show that in the early stages of this process, B cells exhibit a two-phase response in which they first spread over the antigen-bearing membrane and then contract, thereby collecting bound antigen into a central aggregate. The extent of this response, which is both signaling- and actin-dependent, determines the quantity of antigen accumulated and hence the degree of B cell activation. Brownian dynamic simulations reproduce essential features of the antigen collection process and suggest a possible basis for affinity discrimination. We propose that dynamic spreading is an important step of the immune response.

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