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J Exp Med. 1999 Jul 5;190(1):75-89.

B cell development in the spleen takes place in discrete steps and is determined by the quality of B cell receptor-derived signals.

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Department of Molecular Immunology, University of Freiburg, Germany.


Only mature B lymphocytes can enter the lymphoid follicles of spleen and lymph nodes and thus efficiently participate in the immune response. Mature, long-lived B lymphocytes derive from short-lived precursors generated in the bone marrow. We show that selection into the mature pool is an active process and takes place in the spleen. Two populations of splenic B cells were identified as precursors for mature B cells. Transitional B cells of type 1 (T1) are recent immigrants from the bone marrow. They develop into the transitional B cells of type 2 (T2), which are cycling and found exclusively in the primary follicles of the spleen. Mature B cells can be generated from T1 or T2 B cells. Mice with genetic deletions of elements participating in the B cell receptor signaling cascade display developmental arrest at the T1 or T2 stage. The analysis of these defects showed that the development of T2 and mature B cells from T1 precursors requires defined qualitative and quantitative signals derived from the B cell receptor and that the induction of longevity and maturation requires different signals.

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