B cell terminal differentiation is associated with the onset of high-level antibody secretion and cell cycle arrest. Here the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p18(INK4c) is shown to be required within B cells for both terminating cell proliferation and differentiation of functional plasma cells. In its absence, B cells hyperproliferate in germinal centers and extrafollicular foci in response to T-dependent antigens but serum antibody titers are severely reduced, despite unimpaired germinal center formation, class switch recombination, variable region-directed hypermutation, and differentiation to antibody-containing plasmacytoid cells. The novel link between cell cycle control and plasma cell differentiation may, at least in part, relate to p18(INK4c) inhibition of CDK6. Cell cycle arrest mediated by p18(INK4C) is therefore requisite for the generation of functional plasma cells.