Mechanics of antigen extraction in the B cell synapse

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HighlightsAntibodies are an essential mechanism of protection against infectious disease.Antibody responses start when a B cell acquires antigen, often from the surfaces of another cells.B cell antigen acquisition is regulated by immune synapse mechanics.Quantifying immune synapse mechanics is now possible using physical manipulation and nanoscopic mechanosensors.Understanding B cell mechanosensitivity will open new avenues for particle-based vaccine design.B cell encounter with antigen displayed on antigen-presenting cells leads to B cell immune synapse formation, internalisation of the antigen, and stimulation of antibody responses. The sensitivity with which B cells detect antigen, and the quality and quantity of antigen that B cells acquire, depend upon mechanical properties of the immune synapse including interfacial tension, the strength of intermolecular bonds, and the compliance of the molecules and membranes that participate in antigen presentation. In this review, we discuss our current understanding of how these various physical parameters influence B cell antigen extraction in the immune synapse and how a more comprehensive understanding of B cell mechanics may promote the development of new approaches to stimulate the production of desired antibodies.

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