AID-expressing germinal center B cells cluster normally within lymph node follicles in the absence of FDC-M1+ CD35+ follicular dendritic cells but dissipate prematurely

Bryant Boulianne, Michael X. Le, Lesley A. Ward, Lingjin Meng, Dania Haddad, Conglei Li, Alberto Martin, Jennifer L. Gommerman

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Upon activation with T-dependent Ag, B cells enter germinal centers (GC) and upregulate activation-induced deaminase (AID). AID+ GC B cells then undergo class-switch recombination and somatic hypermutation. Follicular dendritic cells (FDC) are stromal cells that underpin GC and require constitutive signaling through the lymphotoxin (LT) β receptor to be maintained in a fully mature, differentiated state. Although it was shown that FDC can be dispensable for the generation of affinity-matured Ab, in the absence of FDC it is unclear where AID expression occurs. In a mouse model that lacks mature FDC, as well as other LT-sensitive cells, we show that clusters of AID+PNA+GL7+ Ag-specific GC B cells form within the B cell follicles of draining lymph nodes, suggesting that FDC are not strictly required for GC formation. However, later in the primary response, FDC-less GC dissipated prematurely, correlating with impaired affinity maturation. We examined whether GC dissipation was due to a lack of FDC or other LTβ receptor-dependent accessory cells and found that, in response to nonreplicating protein Ag, FDC proved to be more critical for long-term GC maintenance. Our study provides a spatial-temporal analysis of Ag-specific B cell activation and AID expression in the context of a peripheral lymph node that lacks FDC-M1+ CD35+ FDC and other LT-sensitive cell types, and reveals that FDC are not strictly required for the induction of AID within an organized GC-like environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4521-4530
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


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