Tracing the fate determination mechanism of B lymphocytes in immunity
B cells play an essential role in the regulation of immune responses. Upon encountering their cognate antigens, B cells take on multiple functions including antibody production, antigen-presentation, and T cell differentiation. In addition to protective roles against pathogenesis, B cells also serve as negative regulators of autoimmunity by secreting anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta). In order to exert such multiple B cell functions, signals propagated through B cell receptors (BCRs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), TNF-family receptors, cytokine receptors, and chemokine receptors are essential. The quality and quantity of the signals are dictated by multiple factors including receptors, intracellular molecules, and transcription factors. Our laboratory has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of signaling pathways that lead to crucial B cell fate decisions such as memory versus plasma cell differentiation.