Imaging of Germinal Center Selection Events During Affinity Maturation

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Science  26 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5811, pp. 528-531
DOI: 10.1126/science.1136736

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The germinal center (GC) is an important site for the generation and selection of B cells bearing high-affinity antibodies, yet GC cell migration and interaction dynamics have not been directly observed. Using two-photon microscopy of mouse lymph nodes, we revealed that GC B cells are highly motile and extend long cell processes. They transited between GC dark and light zones and divided in both regions, although these B cells resided for only several hours in the light zone where antigen is displayed. GC B cells formed few stable contacts with GC T cells despite frequent encounters, and T cells were seen to carry dead B cell blebs. On the basis of these observations, we propose a model in which competition for T cell help plays a more dominant role in the selection of GC B cells than previously appreciated.

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