Antigen uptake and accumulation in antigen-specific B cells

Immunol Rev. 1987 Oct;99:39-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065x.1987.tb01171.x.


Using EBV-transformed antigen-specific B-cell clones as APC, we have started to analyze the factors that govern the uptake of antigen by B cells and lead to its efficient presentation to T cells. The binding of antigen to SIg can be blocked by soluble antibodies that react with the same epitope that is seen by the B cell's SIg, but not by antibodies that bind to different epitopes. By studying the antigen presenting capacity of B cells that had been pulsed with antigen in different conditions, we came to the conclusion that specific B cells work as vacuum cleaners, i.e. over time they accumulate the antigen that binds to SIg. This effect results from the difference between the rate of influx (approximately 5-10 times the amount of antigen bound is internalized every hour by receptor-mediated endocytosis) and the rate of loss (the half-life of processed antigen relevant for T-cell activation is about 1 d). T cells specific for mouse Ig are triggered much more efficiently by mouse anti-human Ig than by mouse antibodies directed against other B-cell surface antigens, suggesting that SIg are extremely efficient for antigen internalization and processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Models, Biological


  • Epitopes