The follicular versus marginal zone B lymphocyte cell fate decision

Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Nov;9(11):767-77. doi: 10.1038/nri2656.


Bone marrow-derived B cells make an important cell fate choice to develop into either follicular B cells or marginal zone B cells in the spleen, which depends on signalling through the B cell receptor, Notch2, the receptor for B cell-activating factor and the canonical nuclear factor-kappaB pathway, as well as signals involved in the migration and anatomical retention of marginal zone B cells. Recent information discussed in this Review reconciles some of the controversies regarding the role of the B cell receptor in this cell fate decision and a clearer picture has also emerged regarding the anatomical location of ligands for Notch2 in the spleen. This cell fate decision could provide mechanistic insights that are relevant to other commitment events in lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / immunology*
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / immunology*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Receptor, Notch2 / immunology*
  • Receptor, Notch2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / metabolism


  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptor, Notch2
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell