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Asymmetric Segregation of Polarized Antigen on B Cell Division Shapes Presentation Capacity

Science  27 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6067, pp. 475-479
DOI: 10.1126/science.1214100

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Abstract

During the activation of humoral immune responses, B cells acquire antigen for subsequent presentation to cognate T cells. Here we show that after mouse B cells accumulate antigen, it is maintained in a polarized distribution for extended periods in vivo. Using high-throughput imaging flow cytometry, we observed that this polarization is preserved during B cell division, promoting asymmetric antigen segregation among progeny. Antigen inheritance correlates with the ability of progeny to activate T cells: Daughter cells receiving larger antigen stores exhibit a prolonged capacity to present antigen, which renders them more effective in competing for T cell help. The generation of progeny with differential capacities for antigen presentation may have implications for somatic hypermutation and class switching during affinity maturation and as B cells commit to effector cell fates.

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