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Nat Immunol. 2001 Dec;2(12):1103-8.

Plasma cells: finding new light at the end of B cell development.

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Department of Microbiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Plasma cells are cellular factories devoted entirely to the manufacture and export of a single product: soluble immunoglobulin (Ig). As the final mediators of a humoral response, plasma cells play a critical role in adaptive immunity. Although intense effort has been devoted to studying the regulation and requirements for early B cell development, little information has been available on plasma cells. However, more recent work-including studies on genetically altered mice and data from microarray analyses-has begun to identify the regulatory cascades that initiate and maintain the plasma cell phenotype. This review will summarize our current understanding of the molecules that regulate commitment to a plasma cell fate and those that mediate plasma cell function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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