Research ArticleB CELLS

Intrinsic properties of human germinal center B cells set antigen affinity thresholds

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Science Immunology  30 Nov 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 29, eaau6598
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau6598

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Optimal affinity

Germinal center (GC) B cells are essential to generating protective antibody responses and are selected through a process of affinity maturation. Kwak et al. now define intrinsic properties of human GC B cells that are critical to antigen affinity discrimination. They identified BCR-containing actin-rich pod-like structures that facilitated formation of highly stable synapses and antigen internalization but only when GC B cells engaged high-affinity antigens. These findings reveal the importance of these structures in setting thresholds for affinity selection and driving GC B cell responses.