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Highly regulated activation of B cells is required for the production of specific antibodies necessary to provide protection from pathogen infection. This process is initiated by specific recognition of antigen through the B cell receptor (BCR), leading to early intracellular signaling followed by the late recruitment of T cell help. In this study we demonstrate that specific BCR uptake of CD1d-restricted antigens represents an effective means of enhancing invariant natural killer T (iNKT)-dependent B cell responses in vivo. This mechanism is effective over a wide range of antigen affinities but depends on exceeding a tightly regulated avidity threshold necessary for BCR-mediated internalization and CD1d-dependent presentation of particulate antigenic lipid. Subsequently, iNKT cells provide the help required for stimulating B cell proliferation and differentiation. iNKT-stimulated B cells develop within extrafollicular foci and mediate the production of high titers of specific IgM and early class-switched antibodies. Thus, we have demonstrated that in response to particulate antigenic lipids iNKT cells are recruited for the assistance of B cell activation, resulting in the enhancement of specific antibody responses. We propose that such a mechanism may operate to potentiate adaptive immune responses against pathogens in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





8345 - 8350


Animals, Antibody Formation, Antigen Presentation, Antigens, CD1, Antigens, CD1d, B-Lymphocytes, Cell Line, Galactosylceramides, Immunization, Killer Cells, Natural, Lymphocyte Activation, Mice, Mice, Inbred Strains, Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell, T-Lymphocyte Subsets