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Nat Immunol. 2004 Mar;5(3):317-27. Epub 2004 Feb 1.

B cell receptor signal strength determines B cell fate.

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CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


B cell receptor (BCR)-mediated antigen recognition is thought to regulate B cell differentiation. BCR signal strength may also influence B cell fate decisions. Here, we used the Epstein-Barr virus protein LMP2A as a constitutively active BCR surrogate to study the contribution of BCR signal strength in B cell differentiation. Mice carrying a targeted replacement of Igh by LMP2A leading to high or low expression of the LMP2A protein developed B-1 or follicular and marginal zone B cells, respectively. These data indicate that BCR signal strength, rather than antigen specificity, determines mature B cell fate. Furthermore, spontaneous germinal centers developed in gut-associated lymphoid tissue of LMP2A mice, indicating that microbial antigens can promote germinal centers independently of BCR-mediated antigen recognition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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