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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Mar;34(3):837-43.

Lowering the affinity between antigen and the B cell receptor can enhance antigen presentation.

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  • 1Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, GB.


The B cell receptor (BCR) enables antigen-specific B cells to bind, internalize and target antigens for processing into small peptide fragments. These epitopes are then expressed on the plasma membrane in association with MHC class II molecules for recognition by CD4+ T cells. The affinity of the interaction between the BCR and antigen plays an important part in determining T cell epitope generation. In this report we provide evidence that the efficiency of antigen presentation by specific B cells does not need to be directly proportional to antigen/BCR affinity. We show that increased presentation can result from lowering the affinity of the antigen/BCR interaction. This finding suggests a novel mechanism by which B cells can recruit T cell help and obtain survival signals. Activation of these cells may have consequences for the generation of the B cell repertoire.

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