As they commit to plasma cell differentiation, B lymphocytes must swiftly gear up to produce and secrete huge amounts of antibodies. To develop their secretory capacity, B cells exploit a signaling pathway that is employed by all eukaryotic cells in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress. An article by Benhamron et al. in this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, [Eur. J. Immunol. 2014. 44: 867-876] sheds new light on why an intact IRE1/XBP-1 signaling relay is central to orchestrate the full-blown expansion of the secretory machinery needed for massive antibody production.
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