ReportHumoral Immunity

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

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Science  29 Jan 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1342

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Upon antigen exposure, naïve B cells differentiate into different types of antibody-producing effector cells: plasma cells, germinal center cells, or memory cells. Whether an individual naïve B cell can produce all of these different cell fates remains unclear. Using a limiting dilution approach, we found that many individual naïve B cells produced only one type of effector cell subset, whereas others produced all subsets. The capacity to differentiate into multiple subsets was a characteristic of clonal populations that divided many times and resisted apoptosis, but was independent of isotype switching. Antigen receptor affinity also influenced effector cell differentiation. These findings suggest that diverse effector cell types arise in the primary response from heterogeneity in responses by individual naïve B cells.

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