Adaptive immunity is dependent on proliferation of antigen-driven B cells for clonal expansion in germinal centers (GCs) against T cell-dependent antigens (TD-Ag), accompanied with somatic hypermutation of variable-region gene and class switching of B cell antigen receptors. To study molecular mechanisms for B cell differentiation in GCs, we have identified and studied a 210kDa GANP protein expressed in GC-B cells. GANP has domains for MCM3-binding and RNA-primase activities and is selectively up-regulated in centrocytes surrounded with follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) upon immunization with TD-Ag in vivo and in B cells stimulated with anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody in vitro, which suggested that GANP plays a certain important role in the maturation of immunoglobulin or selection of B cells in GC during the immune response to TD-Ag. Since this up-regulation has not been detected in T cells in GCs and in Concanavalin A-stimulated T cells in vitro, selective function of GANP molecule on B cell proliferation and differentiation might exist.
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