B CELLS IN 2018

B cells still front and centre in immunology

Despite the maturity of the field of B cell biology, or possibly because of it, discoveries continue to be made that provide fundamental insights into cell biology and into the immune system itself. Here, I describe some of my personal highlights of the past year, encompassing B cell behaviour in response to antigen and in germinal centres, as well as the behaviour of plasma cells.

Key advances

  • Metabolism is part of an integrated system to ensure that B cells receive all appropriate signals before activation is launched.

  • Mitochondria function as a ‘time bomb’ in B cells, being triggered by antigen engagement of the B cell receptor but defused by the receipt of a second signal.

  • Quantification of the immune response, in terms of inputs and outputs and with time as a variable, will reveal the ‘rules’ that regulate immunity.

  • Cell frequency, antigen affinity and antigen avidity are variables that can be manipulated to target specific immune outcomes.

  • Plasma cell heterogeneity extends beyond immunoglobulin isotype and into cytokine secretion.

  • Plasma cells may modify their environment by secreting other regulatory molecules.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Akkya, M. et al. Second signals rescue B cells from activation-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and death. Nat. Immunol. 19, 871–884 (2018).

  2. 2.

    Turner, J. S. et al. Transiently antigen-primed B cells return to naive-like state in absence of T cell help. Nat. Comm. 8, 15072 (2017).

  3. 3.

    Abbott, R. K. et al. Precursor frequency and affinity determine B cell competitive fitness in germinal centers, tested with germline-targeting HIV vaccine immunogens. Immunity 48, 133–146 (2018).

  4. 4.

    Tas, J. M. et al. Visualizing antibody affinity maturation in germinal centers. Science 351, 1048–1054 (2016).

  5. 5.

    Lino, A. C. et al. LAG-3 inhibitory receptor expression identifies immunosuppressive natural regulatory plasma cells. Immunity 49, 120–133 (2018).

  6. 6.

    Matsumoto, M. et al. Interleukin-10-producing plasmablasts exert a regulatory function in autoimmune inflammation. Immunity 41, 1040–1051 (2014).

  7. 7.

    Mauri, C. & Menon, M. Human regulatory B cells in health and disease: therapeutic potential. J. Clin. Invest. 127, 772–779 (2017).

Download references

Acknowledgements

D.T. is supported by a Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia).

Author information

Correspondence to David Tarlinton.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tarlinton, D. B cells still front and centre in immunology. Nat Rev Immunol 19, 85–86 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41577-018-0107-2

Download citation

Further reading