The initiation of antibody responses to foreign antigens requires that B cells receive and integrate a variety of signals through an array of cell surface receptors including the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) as well as a number of essential coreceptors. Recent evidence indicates that cholesterol-rich plasma membrane microdomains, referred to here as lipid rafts, serve as platforms for BCR signaling and trafficking in B cells. The existence of rafts suggests a previously unappreciated level of organization at the B cell surface that may explain, at least in part, how BCR signaling is coordinated. Here the current evidence that lipid rafts play a key role in B cell responses is reviewed.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.