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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Oct;18(5):616-26. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Lipid rafts and B cell signaling.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States.


B cells comprise an essential component of the humoral immune system. They are equipped with the unique ability to synthesize and secrete pathogen-neutralizing antibodies, and share with professional antigen presenting cells the ability to internalize foreign antigens, and process them for presentation to helper T cells. Recent evidence indicates that specialized cholesterol- and glycosphingolipid-rich microdomains in the plasma membrane commonly referred to as lipid rafts, serve to compartmentalize key signaling molecules during the different stages of B cell activation including B cell antigen receptor (BCR)-initiated signal transduction, endocytosis of BCR-antigen complexes, loading of antigenic peptides onto MHC class II molecules, MHC-II associated antigen presentation to helper T cells, and receipt of helper signals via the CD40 receptor. Here we review the recent literature arguing for a role of lipid rafts in the spatial organization of B cell function.

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