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J Leukoc Biol. 2010 Feb;87(2):245-55. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1208774. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Biogenesis of secretory organelles during B cell differentiation.

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Immunology Unit, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.


The differentiation of B cells into Ig-secreting plasma cells requires the expansion of secretory organelles to cope with the increased cargo load. To evaluate the timeline of this process, we have quantitated the kinetics of secretory organelle expansion relative to Ig secretion and examined regulatory components of secretory transport following in vitro activation of human B lymphocytes. Unstimulated B cells contain minimal endomembranes. After activation, ER membrane induction appears as tightly packed spherical structures of 0.5-1 mum diameter concentrated in a juxtanuclear position. When the cells differentiate into plasmablasts, there is dramatic cell-size increase, but the ER remains concentrated close to the nucleus and only later fills the entire cell. In sharp contrast, previous studies in other cell types have found that the ER expands in synchrony with increasing cell size during interphase, by extension of ER tubules under the PM. In this study, the Golgi remains consistently as a single juxtanuclear structure but linearly expands sixfold in volume during B cell activation. Furthermore, following active cell proliferation, ER exit sites proliferate rapidly, increasing almost fourfold in number, in parallel with a sharp increase in Ig secretion. These findings demonstrate that the control of organelle biogenesis and expansion in primary human B cells are differentially regulated by cargo flux caused by Ig synthesis.

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