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Immunity. 2002 Sep;17(3):329-39.

Memory B cells without somatic hypermutation are generated from Bcl6-deficient B cells.

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Department of Developmental Genetics (H2), Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.


After immunization with T cell-dependent antigens, the high-affinity B cells selected in germinal centers differentiate into memory B cells or long-lived antibody-forming cells. However, a role for germinal centers in development of these B lineage cells is still controversial. We show here that Bcl6-deficient B cells, which cannot develop germinal centers, differentiated into IgM and IgG1 memory B cells in the spleen but barely differentiated into long-lived IgG1 antibody-forming cells in the bone marrow. Mutation in the V-heavy gene was null in these memory B cells. Therefore, Bcl6 and germinal center formation are essential for somatic hypermutation, and generation of memory B cells can occur independently of germinal center formation, somatic hypermutation, and Ig class switching.

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