Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Pharmacology & Chemical Biology Seminar Series
Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 12:00 PM

“Signaling and Selection in Germinal Center B Cells”

Mark Jay Shlomchik, MD, PhD
UPMC Endowed Professor and Chair
Department of Immunology


Germinal centers (GCs) are proliferative reactions that occur in B cell regions of secondary lymphoid tissues, like spleen, in response to certain types of infection and immunization. GCs are the source of higher affinity long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells, so critically important to long-term immunity. In GCs, the B cells induce certain key transcription factors, including Bcl-6, that markedly remodel the cell so that it undergoes mutation of its immunoglobulin V regions, so that almost every daughter cell inherits a different affinity for the driving antigen. In GCs, there is an intensive selective process that causes expansion of higher affinity mutant clones in a Darwinian fashion.  I will discuss how signaling by the B cell receptor and CD40 are reprogrammed in GC B cells to enable this selection process. 

Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
1395 Conference Room
203 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh PA 15213
Melanie McClain

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