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A Protein Called XBP-1 Seems To Precipitate B-Cell Differentiation

 
  July, 19 2001 23:15
your information resource in human molecular genetics
 
     
TO B OR NOT TO B

Little is known about the factors that control a critical step in antibody production, the differentiation of mature activated B cells into antibody-secreting plasma cells. This week (Nature, Vol. 412, No. 6844, 19 Jul 2001), Laurie H. Glimcher of Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues, show that a protein called XBP-1 seems to precipitate B-cell differentiation.

The immune system has two lines of defence against foreign invaders. T cells kill virally infected or malignant cells, and antibodies are released into the bloodstream by plasma cells, which are specialized B cells that no longer divide. Antibodies are involved in many autoimmune diseases, so studies of autoimmunity would benefit greatly from a better understanding of plasma cells.

"The discovery of a protein required for the production of plasma cells will give immunologists a better idea of how they develop," says Kathryn Calame of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, in an accompanying News and Views article.

CONTACT:

Laurie H Glimcher
tel +1 617 432 0622
e-mail lglimche@hsph.harvard.edu

Kathryn Calame
tel +1 212 305 3504
e-mail klc1@columbia.edu

(C) Nature press release.


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