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J Exp Med. 2004 Oct 18;200(8):967-77.

Plasma cell ontogeny defined by quantitative changes in blimp-1 expression.

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  • 1The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, 1G Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria, 3050, Australia.


Plasma cells comprise a population of terminally differentiated B cells that are dependent on the transcriptional regulator B lymphocyte--induced maturation protein 1 (Blimp-1) for their development. We have introduced a gfp reporter into the Blimp-1 locus and shown that heterozygous mice express the green fluorescent protein in all antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) in vivo and in vitro. In vitro, these cells display considerable heterogeneity in surface phenotype, immunoglobulin secretion rate, and Blimp-1 expression levels. Importantly, analysis of in vivo ASCs induced by immunization reveals a developmental pathway in which increasing levels of Blimp-1 expression define developmental stages of plasma cell differentiation that have many phenotypic and molecular correlates. Thus, maturation from transient plasmablast to long-lived ASCs in bone marrow is predicated on quantitative increases in Blimp-1 expression.

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