Apoptosis and antigen affinity limit effector cell differentiation of a single naïve B cell

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Science  13 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6223, pp. 784-787
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1342

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For a single B cell, many roads to take

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.

Science, this issue p. 784