As they commit to plasma cell differentiation, B lymphocytes must swiftly gear up to produce and secrete huge amounts of antibodies. To develop their secretory capacity, B cells exploit a signaling pathway that is employed by all eukaryotic cells in response to endoplasmic reticulum stress. An article by Benhamron et al. in this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, [Eur. J. Immunol. 2014. 44: 867-876] sheds new light on why an intact IRE1/XBP-1 signaling relay is central to orchestrate the full-blown expansion of the secretory machinery needed for massive antibody production. © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.