Vol. 196, No. 10, November 18, 2002. Pages 1291–1305.

The editors of The Journal of Experimental Medicine have been notified by Dr. Markus Müschen of the University of Cologne, Germany, that he and the other authors of the above article wish to retract the paper.

The authors state:

“In an attempt to repeat the FACS analyses of surface antigens that were described as differentially expressed between naive and memory B cells in our paper, we observed no or only minor differences for most of these molecules. A systematic reanalysis of the primary data in the laboratories of R. Küppers and M. Müschen revealed that incorrect FACS instrument compensations were responsible for the discrepancy (double stainings were performed, laboratory of M. Müschen).

This prompted us to systematically reanalyze all aspects of our paper. The reanalysis revealed that normalization of SAGE libraries of different sizes had introduced a bias toward larger differences in gene expression between naive and memory B cells when the SAGE tag count was 0 for 1 of the two libraries. In these cases, differences in mRNA expression identified by SAGE are in reality smaller than reported in the paper and often not significant. Experiments to confirm and extend the main conclusion of our article that B cell receptor signaling is silenced in naive as opposed to memory B cells (laboratories of J. Hescheler and M. Müschen) will be presented elsewhere.”

The authors extend their apologies to the scientific community.