Upon encounter with antigen, B cells alter their physiological state, 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 from the mouse. 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 based on location and maturity. The gene expression changes include many regulators not previously implicated in B cell differentiation. These findings highlight and expand the core program that guides B cell terminal differentiation and the production of antibody, and enables the identification of new molecules with which to therapeutically target malignant or autoreactive plasma cells.
Professor Lynn Corcoran is a laboratory head in the Molecular Immunology Division at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research. She has contributed to the research fields of cancer, parasitology, and immunology. The principal goal of her current research is to enhance understanding of the adaptive immune response, in particular, to delineate the molecular master transcriptional programs for generation of B memory cells, antibody secreting cells (ASC) and some T effector cell types. She extends knowledge gained from detailed studies of mouse lymphocyte biology into areas applicable to human health and to conservation of indigenous animals. She co-chaired her Institute’s Gender Equity Committee since its inception in 2010 until 2016.