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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Dec;975:33-45.

Analysis of B cell memory formation using DNA microarrays.

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Medical Genome Centre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, ACT, Australia.


DNA microarray analysis of B cell subsets has identified comprehensive programs of gene expression that distinguish B cells at discrete stages of differentiation. The next task is to identify key genetic signals within these complex programs that regulate the dynamic cellular events during B cell activation in vivo. After stimulation with antigen, naïve B cells proliferate and differentiate, and then produce antibodies. Crucial qualitative differences in antibody responses are observed depending on whether or not B cells receive T cell help during activation. Proteins, lipopolysaccharides, and polysaccharides stimulate T-dependent (TD), T-independent type 1 (TI-1), and type 2 (TI-2) antibody responses, respectively. Only TD responses generate somatically mutated antibody-forming (plasma) cells and memory B cells, which produce high affinity anamnestic responses to subsequent antigen challenge. Somatic mutation of immunoglobulin genes occurs during B cell proliferation in germinal centres (GC), which are typical in TD responses but rare in TI responses. However, we have described a model, which is exceptional because numerous large GC form in response to a model TI-2 antigen, (4-hydoxy-3-nitrophenyl) acetyl (NP)-Ficoll. Significantly, these GC undergo involution before memory B cells are generated. This model provides an opportunity to investigate the genetic signals that drive memory cell formation, and we have compared global gene expression in TI and TD GC to identify a relatively small number of genes that are differentially expressed between the two prototypic B cell responses. This model demonstrates how genome-scale technology can be adapted to investigate specific aspects of B cell biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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