Germinal centers (GCs) are specialized structures in which B lymphocytes undergo clonal expansion, class switch recombination, somatic hypermutation, and affinity maturation. Although these structures were previously thought to contain a limited number of isolated B cell clones, recent in vivo imaging studies revealed that they are in fact dynamic and appear to be open to their environment. We demonstrate that B cells can colonize heterologous GCs. Invasion of primary GCs after subsequent immunization is most efficient when T cell help is shared by the two immune responses; however, it also occurs when the immune responses are entirely unrelated. We conclude that GCs are dynamic anatomical structures that can be reutilized by newly activated B cells during immune responses.
Recommended CitationSchwickert, Tanja A; Alabyev, Boris; Manser, Tim; and Nussenzweig, Michel C, "Germinal center reutilization by newly activated B cells." (2009). Department of Microbiology and Immunology Faculty Papers. Paper 34.