In this review, we will discuss the cascade of cellular and molecular events in the immune response to protein antigens that regulate the development of high-affinity B cell memory. The behavior of antigen-experienced pMHCII+ dendritic cells DCs and the dynamics of their interaction with specific T-helper (Th) cells define the first developmental checkpoint for adaptive immunity in vivo. Recent studies provide insight into the basis of Th cell clonal selection and the requirements and consequences of antigen priming in this responsive Th cell compartment. Antigen-specific Th cells expand to become the cognate regulators of effector B cell responses and initiators of the germinal center reaction and memory B cell development. We will discuss the development and role of these diverse mixtures of antigen-specific B cells in the control of B cell memory and long-term humoral immunity that underpin effective protein vaccination.