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A reassessment of IgM memory subsets in humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davide Bagnara, Margherita Squillario, David Kipling, Thierry Mora, Aleksandra M. Walczak, Lucie Da Silva, Sandra Weller, Deborah K. Dunn-Walters, Jean Claude Weill, Claude Agnès Reynaud

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3716-3724
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015

King's Authors


From paired blood and spleen samples from three adult donors, we performed high-throughput VH sequencing of human B cell subsets defined by IgD and CD27 expression: IgD+ CD27+ ("marginal zone [MZ]"), IgD- CD27+ ("memory," including IgM ["IgMonly"], IgG and IgA) and IgD- CD27- cells ("double-negative," including IgM, IgG, and IgA). A total of 91,294 unique sequences clustered in 42,670 clones, revealing major clonal expansions in each of these subsets. Among these clones, we further analyzed those shared sequences from different subsets or tissues for VH gene mutation, H-CDR3-length, and VH/JH usage, comparing these different characteristics with all sequences from their subset of origin for which these parameters constitute a distinct signature. The IgM-only repertoire profile differed notably from that of MZ B cells by a higher mutation frequency and lower VH 4 and higher JH 6 gene usage. Strikingly, IgM sequences from clones shared between the MZ and the memory IgG/IgA compartments showed a mutation and repertoire profile of IgM-only and not of MZ B cells. Similarly, all IgM clonal relationships (among MZ, IgM-only, and double-negative compartments) involved sequences with the characteristics of IgM-only B cells. Finally, clonal relationships between tissues suggested distinct recirculation characteristics between MZ and switched B cells. The "IgM-only" subset (including cells with its repertoire signature but higher IgD or lower CD27 expression levels) thus appear as the only subset showing precursor-product relationships with CD27+ switched memory B cells, indicating that they represent germinal center-derived IgM memory B cells and that IgM memory and MZ B cells constitute two distinct entities.

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