A compendium of global gene expression measurements from DNA microarray analysis of immune cells identifies gene expression signatures defining various lineages, differentiation stages, and signaling pathways. Germinal center (GC) B cells represent a discrete stage of differentiation with a unique gene expression signature. This includes genes involved in proliferation, as evidenced by high expression of G2/M phase regulators and low expression of ribosomal and metabolic genes that are transcriptional targets of c-myc. GC B cells also lack expression of the NF-kappaB signature genes, which may favor apoptosis. Finally, the transcriptional repression signature of BCL-6 reveals how this factor can prevent terminal differentiation of B cells and cause B cell lymphomas.