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

Kathryn A. Pape, Robert W. Maul, Thamotharampillai Dileepan, Amanda Schmidt Paustian, Patricia J. Gearhart, Marc K. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


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. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1135-1143.e4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 19 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health ( R37 AI027998 and R01 AI039614 ) to M.K.J. and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging to P.J.G. The authors acknowledge technical assistance from David Wu, Madeline Pape, and Jennifer Walter.


  • V
  • memory B cell
  • naive B cell
  • repertoire

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