Control systems and decision making for antibody production

Nat Immunol. 2010 Aug;11(8):681-8. doi: 10.1038/ni.1900. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


This paper synthesizes recent progress toward understanding the integrated control systems and fail-safes that guide the quality and quantity of antibody produced by B cells. We focus on four key decisions: (1) the choice between proliferation or death in perifollicular B cells in the first 3 days after antigen encounter; (2) differentiation of proliferating perifollicular B cells into extrafollicular plasma cells or germinal center B cells; (3) positive selection of B cell antigen receptor (BCR) affinity for foreign antigen versus negative selection of BCR affinity for self antigen in germinal center B cells; and (4) survival versus death of antibody-secreting plasma cells. Understanding the engineering of these control systems represents a challenging future step for treating disorders of antibody production in autoimmunity, allergy and immunodeficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / immunology*
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Death / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell