Decision criteria for resolving isotype switching conflicts by B cells Academic Article uri icon


  • Isotype switching by B cells is highly regulated by a group of cytokines including IL-4, IFN-gamma and TGF-beta. A B cell can only express one isotype at a time; however, during an immune response it may be exposed to combinations of stimuli that provide it with conflicting switching instructions. To determine how such cytokine-induced isotype switch conflicts would be resolved, the responses of B cells exposed to multiple cytokines were investigated. To eliminate complications arising from simultaneous effects of switching cytokines on proliferation, division number was used as a reference framework to monitor switching rate. The results show a clear hierarchy in which IFN-gamma is dominant over IL-4, and both IL-4 and IFN-gamma are dominant over TGF-beta. These studies reveal how B cells possess a set of logical decision criteria for dealing with pathogens that invoke a range of different stimuli.

publication date

  • October 2005