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Science. 2007 Jan 26;315(5811):528-31. Epub 2006 Dec 21.

Imaging of germinal center selection events during affinity maturation.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

Abstract

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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