B Cell Receptor Crosslinking Augments Germinal Center B Cell Selection when T Cell Help Is Limiting

Jackson Steed Turner, Fang Ke, Irina Leonidovna Grigorova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Antigen-dependent engagement of germinal center (GC) B cell receptors (BCRs) promotes antigen internalization and presentation for follicular helper T cells. However, whether BCR signaling is critical or synergistic with T cell help for GC B cell selection or differentiation is unclear. Here, by adapting an experimental approach that enables independent delivery of BCR-crosslinking antigen or T cell help to GC B cells in vivo, we showed that T cell help was sufficient to induce GC B cell expansion and plasmablast formation. However, although BCR crosslinking could not by itself promote GC B cell selection or differentiation, it could synergize with T cell help to enhance the GC and plasmablast responses when T cell help was limiting. These findings indicate that GC B cells can integrate variable inputs from T cell help and BCR signaling in vivo for an optimal process of selection and differentiation, critical for potent long-term humoral immunity. Turner et al. show that recurrent antigen-dependent BCR crosslinking is not required for GC centrocytes selection and differentiation into plasmablasts in vivo. However, when T cell help is subsaturating, BCR signaling can synergize with follicular T cell help to potentiate GC B cell selection and their differentiation into plasmablasts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1403.e4
JournalCell Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 6 2018


  • B cell receptor
  • B cell selection and differentiation
  • T cell help
  • follicular helper T cells
  • germinal centers
  • plasma cells


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