Bhlhe40, a molecular gatekeeper that prevents the formation of lymphomas

B cells proliferate, differentiate, and mutate in temporary cell clusters called germinal centres. In a process known as the germinal centre reaction, B cells in these clusters mutate to improve the affinity of antibodies to fight invading pathogens. This reaction requires tight regulation, as uncontrolled cells may multiply in a frenzy and turn into lymphomas. An international team of scientists has unveiled the function of the transcription factor Bhlhe40, which restrains the size of germinal centres, thereby preventing the development of lymphomas in mice. Their findings are now published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy image of a spleen section of a mutant mouse that does not express Bhlhe40. Germinal Centres are shown in yellow and white, CD4 T cells in blue, and Immunoglobulin D in red. Credit: Annika Reinhardt.

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