The SLAM (CD150) family receptors are leukocyte cell-surface glycoproteins involved in leukocyte activation. These molecules and their adaptor protein SAP contribute to the effective germinal center formation, generation of high-affinity antibody-secreting plasma cells, and memory B cells, thereby facilitating long-term humoral immune response. Multi-color flow cytometric analysis was performed to determine the expression of CD48 (SLAMF2), CD84 (SLAMF5), CD150 (SLAM or SLAMF1), CD229 (Ly9 or SLAMF3), CD244 (2B4 or SLAMF4), CD319 (CRACC, CS1, or SLAMF7), and CD352 (NTB-A or SLAMF6) on human cell lines and B-cell subsets. The following subsets were assessed: pro-B, pre-B, immature-B, and mature-B cells from bone marrow; transitional and B1/B2 subsets from peripheral blood; and naïve, pre-germinal center, germinal center, memory, plasmablasts, and plasma cells from tonsil and spleen. All receptors were expressed on B cells, with the exception of CD244. SLAM family molecules were widely distributed during B-cell development, maturation and terminal differentiation into plasmablasts and plasma cells, but their expression among various B-cell subsets differed significantly. Such heterogeneous expression patterns suggest that SLAM molecules play an essential and non-redundant role in the control of humoral immune responses.
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