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.
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.
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D.T. is supported by a Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia).
The author declares no competing interests.
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Tarlinton, D. B cells still front and centre in immunology. Nat Rev Immunol 19, 85–86 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41577-018-0107-2
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