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Publication Detail
B cell activation and b cell tolerance
Upon exposure to antigen, whether microbial or following vaccination, naive B cells undergo a series of activation and differentiation steps that culminate in the generation of plasma cells and memory B cells. These are respectively responsible for continuous antibody secretion and for the rapid and enhanced immunoglobulin (Ig) response upon subsequent exposure to the antigen. The stochastic nature of Ig gene rearrangement and consequent antibody expression yields cells with diverse antigen specificities, and a significant proportion of these recognize self-antigen at the earliest stages of development. However, the immune system has evolved a series of checkpoints to alter the specificity, eliminate or inactivate these self-reactive B lymphocytes. In this chapter, we describe the events and mechanisms by which B cells achieve the fine balance between activation and tolerance and how defects in the maintenance of this balance can support the evolution of autoimmunity.
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