Imprinting the fate of antigen-reactive B cells through the affinity of the B cell receptor

Brian P. O'Connor, Laura A. Vogel, Weijun Zhang, William Loo, Danielle Shnider, Evan F. Lind, Michelle Ratliff, Randolph J. Noelle, Loren D. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Long-lived plasma cells (PCs) and memory B cells (Bmem) constitute the cellular components of enduring humoral immunity, whereas short-lived PCs that rapidly produce Ig correspond to the host's need for immediate protection against pathogens. In this study we show that the innate affinity of the BCR for Ag imprints upon naive B cells their differentiation fate to become short-or long-lived PCs and Bmem. Using BCR transgenic mice with varying affinities for Ag, naive B cells with high affinity lose their capacity to form germinal centers (GCs), develop neither Bmem nor long-lived PCs, and are destined to a short-lived PC fate. Moderate affinity interactions result in hastened GC responses, and differentiation to long-lived PCs, but Bmem remain extinct. In contrast, lower affinity interactions show tempered GCs, producing Bmem and affinity-matured, long-lived PCs. Thus, a continuum of elementary to comprehensive humoral immune responses exists that is controlled by inherent BCR affinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7723-7732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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