The RNA-binding protein PTBP1 is necessary for B cell selection in germinal centers.
Antibody affinity maturation occurs in germinal centers (GCs), where B cells cycle between the light zone (LZ) and the dark zone. In the LZ, GC B cells bearing immunoglobulins with the highest affinity for antigen receive positive selection signals from helper T cells, which promotes their rapid proliferation. Here we found that the RNA-binding protein PTBP1 was needed for the progression of GC B cells through late S phase of the cell cycle and for affinity maturation. PTBP1 was required for proper expression of the c-MYC-dependent gene program induced in GC B cells receiving T cell help and directly regulated the alternative splicing and abundance of transcripts that are increased during positive selection to promote proliferation.