Naive B Cells with High-Avidity Germline-Encoded Antigen Receptors Produce Persistent IgM+ and Transient IgG+ Memory B Cells

Publication date: 19 June 2018
Source:Immunity, Volume 48, Issue 6
Author(s): Kathryn A. Pape, Robert W. Maul, Thamotharampillai Dileepan, Amanda Schmidt Paustian, Patricia J. Gearhart, Marc K. Jenkins
Although immune memory often lasts for life, this is not the case for certain vaccines in some individuals. We sought a mechanism for this phenomenon by studying B cell responses to phycoerythrin (PE). PE immunization of mouse strains with Ighb immunoglobulin (Ig) variable heavy chain (VH) genes elicited affinity-matured switched Ig memory B cells that declined with time, while the comparable population from an Igha strain was numerically stable. Ighb strains had larger numbers of PE-specific naive B cells and generated smaller germinal center responses and larger numbers of IgM memory cells than the Igha strain. The properties of PE-specific B cells in Ighb mice correlated with usage of a single VH that afforded high-affinity PE binding in its germline form. These results suggest that some individuals may be genetically predisposed to generate non-canonical memory B cell responses to certain antigens because of avid antigen binding via germline-encoded VH elements.

Graphical abstract



Immunity induced by certain vaccines declines over time. By studying B cell responses to phycoerythrin, Pape et al. find that memory B cells can be short-lived when generated from precursors that experience unusually strong early signals through their un-mutated antigen receptors.