It has become clear that plasma cells are not all alike. Plasma cells differ in their lifespan, differentiation route, the nature of the produced Ig and their anatomical location . The exact pathways that result in different types of plasma cells are not fully understood, but are suggested to depend on which B cell subset the plasma cells are derived from and which
type of signals are needed to stimulate their differentiation [1, 2]. The B1 cells, marginal zone B cells and follicular B cells can all give rise to plasma cells when activated. The differentiation Trametinib of these cells is a complex process and involves integration of extracellular stimuli to the highly interacting network of transcription factors. The differentiation of B2 cells into antibody-secreting plasma cells can occur via two prominent routes. The cells either differentiate along extrafollicular pathway, creating short-lived plasma cells that produce low-affinity antibodies or proceed to the follicular pathway to generate germinal centres (GCs) that support the maturation of antibody affinity and Ig class switching and long-lived plasma cells (Fig. 1). The type of antigen, the cellular niche and the affinity of BCR towards an antigen determine which differentiation GDC-0980 molecular weight route is chosen with
higher-affinity antigen recognition giving rise to extrafollicular pathway and B cells with lower affinity start to form GCs . Type Thiamine-diphosphate kinase II antigens, which usually contain repeating antigen determinants on a large polysaccharide backbone, can initiate the extrafollicular pathway. The plasma cells from the extrafollicular pathway are sustained in regions such as splenic extrafollicular foci and lymph node medullary chords where CD11chigh dendritic cells provide a proliferation-induced ligand (APRIL) and B cell activating factor (BAFF) . Depending on the subtype, these plasma cells have a half-life ranging from hours to days and usually secrete IgM class antibody and to a lower extent
other Ig classes. The follicular pathway is related to GCs, a specialized structure to support affinity maturation and class switching of Ig. This follicular pathway is known to produce long-lived high-affinity plasma cells that find their survival niches in the bone marrow where they can survive for longer periods . The response to extracellular stimuli and the ability to undergo differentiation are ultimately dictated by transcription factors. The differentiation of B cells into plasma cells involves a substantial change of the gene expression programme, including the repression of B cell transcription factors and other B cell properties  as well as induction of plasma cell transcription factors responsible for properties such as active Ig secretion and cessation of cell cycle.