High Rate of Antibody Secretion Is not Integral to Plasma Cell Differentiation as Revealed by XBP-1 Deficiency Academic Article uri icon


  • During B cell terminal differentiation, a complex set of transcription factors interact to drive the phenotypic and functional changes leading to the development of Ab-secreting cells (ASCs). The transcription factor X-box binding protein 1 (XBP-1) is an essential part of one of the branches of the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR is induced when a cell has to handle large amounts of proteins, as is the case in ASCs. Although XBP-1 was initially also ascribed an indispensable function in plasma cell development, later studies of B cell-specific deletion reported a much milder consequence of XBP-1 deficiency. Our interest was to determine whether XBP-1 was integral for the differentiation of plasma cells. Using both in vitro and in vivo assays, we found efficient generation of ASCs in the absence of XBP-1. ASCs were present at normal frequencies in resting and immunized mice and displayed a pattern of surface markers typical for plasma cells. The absence of XBP-1 resulted in a reduction but not ablation of Ab secretion and the failure to develop the cellular morphology characteristic of ASCs. Thus, XBP-1 deficiency demonstrates that the gene regulatory program controlling plasma cell differentiation can proceed relatively normally in the absence of high rates of Ig secretion.


  • Taubenheim, Nadine
  • Tarlinton, David M
  • Crawford, Simon
  • Corcoran, Lynn M
  • Hodgkin, Philip D
  • Nutt, Stephen L

publication date

  • October 1, 2012