When B cells encounter an antigen, they alter their physiological state and anatomical localization and initiate a differentiation process that ultimately produces antibody-secreting cells (ASCs). We have defined the transcriptomes of many mature B cell populations and stages of plasma cell differentiation in mice. We provide a molecular signature of ASCs that highlights the stark transcriptional divide between B cells and plasma cells and enables the demarcation of ASCs on the basis of location and maturity. Changes in gene expression correlated with cell-division history and the acquisition of permissive histone modifications, and they included many regulators that had not been previously implicated in B cell differentiation. These findings both highlight and expand the core program that guides B cell terminal differentiation and the production of antibodies.
Shi, W., Liao, Y., Willis, S. N., Taubenheim, N., Inouye, M., Tarlinton, D. M., Smyth, G. K., Hodgkin, P. D., Nutt, S. L., & Corcoran, L. M. (2015). Transcriptional profiling of mouse B cell terminal differentiation defines a signature for antibody-secreting plasma cells. Nature Immunology, 16(6), 663 - 673. https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.3154