Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunol. 2014 Apr 15;192(8):3607-17. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301284. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

B cell antigen presentation in the initiation of follicular helper T cell and germinal center differentiation.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104;


High-affinity class-switched Abs and memory B cells are products of the germinal center (GC). The CD4+ T cell help required for the development and maintenance of the GC is delivered by follicular Th cells (T(FH)), a CD4+ Th cell subset characterized by expression of Bcl-6 and secretion of IL-21. The cellular interactions that mediate differentiation of TFH and GC B cells remain an important area of investigation. We previously showed that MHC class II (MHCII)-dependent dendritic cell Ag presentation is sufficient for the differentiation of a T(FH) intermediate (termed pre-T(FH)), characterized by Bcl-6 expression but lacking IL-21 secretion. In this article, we examine the contributions of MHCII Ag presentation by B cells to T(FH) differentiation and GC responses in several contexts. B cells alone do not efficiently prime naive CD4+ T cells or induce T(FH) after protein immunization; however, during lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection, B cells induce T(FH) differentiation despite the lack of effector CD4+ T cell generation. Still, MHCII+ dendritic cells and B cells cooperate for optimal T(FH) and GC B cell differentiation in response to both model Ags and viral infection. This study highlights the roles for B cells in both CD4+ T cell priming and T(FH) differentiation, and demonstrates that different APC subsets work in tandem to mediate the GC response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center