Disparate models for the development of peripheral B cells may reflect significant heterogeneity in recirculating long-lived B cells that have not been previously accounted for. We show in this study that the murine recirculating B cell pool contains two distinct, long-lived, posttransitional, follicular B cell populations. Follicular Type I IgM(low) B cells require Ag-derived and Btk-dependent signals for their development and make up the majority of cells in the recirculating follicular B cell pool. Follicular type II B cells do not require Btk- or Notch-2-derived signals, make up about a third of the long-lived recirculating B cell pool, and can develop in the absence of Ag. These two follicular populations exhibit differences in basal tyrosine phosphorylation and in BCR-induced proliferation, suggesting that they may represent functionally distinct populations of long-lived recirculating B cells.
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