A cell belonging to the class of lymphocytes that synthesize immunoglobulins. B lymphocytes mature within a microenvironment of bone marrow (in mammals) or within the bursa of Fabricius (in birds). At this time, the immunoglobulins synthesized by B lymphocytes are transferred to the cell surface. After the binding of an antigen molecule to a B lymphocyte, it goes through a cycle of mitotic divisions during which the immunoglobulins disappear from the cell surface. The plasma cells that result synthesize immunoglobulins and secrete them into the blood. However, some B lymphocytes do not differentiate into plasma cells, but retain membrane-bound immunoglobulins. These “memory” B lymphocytes function to respond to any subsequent encounter with the same antigen See lymphocyte, V(D)J recombination.
Subjects: Chemistry — Genetics and Genomics.