Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 7th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Antibodies to Order
24 December 2013

Antibodies to Order

Looking like a melted marble, this is a whole mouse lymph node, an organ of the immune system. Within it are hubs (here seen as dense blobs) – germinal centres – where B cells are constantly trying to optimise their antibodies for binding and killing dangerous invaders. Most B cells won’t make the perfect weapon, but those that do are selected to mass-produce it. The selection process is driven by T follicular (Tfh) cells (the green-stained dots), which identify the pathogen before cherry-picking B cells with the best-suited antibodies. How this happens has not been clear. But scientists have now demonstrated that Tfh cells continually move between different germinal centres within a lymph node. That means B cells are influenced by a range of Tfh cells, which may enhance the diversity of the antibodies they produce and therefore ensure a supply of target-specific weapons to tackle an ever-changing cast of intruders.

Written by Daniel Cossins

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.