The microanatomic segregation of selection by apoptosis in the germinal center Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte
  • HIV-1
  • env Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


  • B cells undergo rapid cell division and affinity maturation in anatomically distinct sites in lymphoid organs called germinal centers (GCs). Homeostasis is maintained in part by B cell apoptosis. However, the precise contribution of apoptosis to GC biology and selection is not well defined. We developed apoptosis-indicator mice and used them to visualize, purify, and characterize dying GC B cells. Apoptosis is prevalent in the GC with up to half of all GC B cells dying every 6 hours. Moreover, programmed cell death is differentially regulated in the light zone (LZ) and the dark zone (DZ): LZ B cells die by default if they are not positively selected, whereas DZ cells die when their antigen receptors are damaged by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID).

publication date

  • September 14, 2017



  • Academic Article



  • eng

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.aao2602

PubMed ID

  • 28935768

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 13