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Nat Immunol. 2002 Feb;3(2):182-8. Epub 2002 Jan 14.

Burst-enhancing role of the IgG membrane tail as a molecular determinant of memory.

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ACRF Genetics Laboratory, Medical Genome Centre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, PO Box 334, Mills Road, Canberra 2601, Australia.


The basis of immune memory leading to heightened secondary antibody responses is a longstanding unanswered issue. Here we show that a single irreversible molecular change in the B cell antigen receptor, which is brought about by immunoglobulin M (IgM) to IgG isotype switching, is sufficient to greatly increase the extrafollicular proliferative burst of antigen-specific B cells. The unique membrane-spanning regions of IgG do not alter the T cell-dependent activation and proliferation of antigen-specific B cells in vivo, but markedly increase the number of progeny cells and plasmablasts that accumulate. These results establish a key molecular determinant of immunological memory and define an unexpected cellular basis by which it enhances the magnitude of secondary antibody responses.

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