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J Immunol. 2006 Sep 1;177(5):3035-44.

Increased B cell survival and preferential activation of the memory compartment by a malaria polyclonal B cell activator.

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Center for Infectious Medicine, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.


Chronic malaria infection is characterized by polyclonal B cell activation, hyperglobulinemia, and elevated titers of autoantibodies. We have recently identified the cysteine-rich interdomain region 1alpha (CIDR1alpha) of the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 as a T cell-independent polyclonal B cell activator and Ig binding protein. Here, we show that, although the binding affinity of CIDR1alpha to human IgM and IgG is relatively low, B cell activation still proceeds. CIDR1alpha rescues tonsillar B cells from apoptosis, and increases the proportion of cycling cells. Comparison of the impact on naive and memory B cell compartment indicated that CIDR1alpha preferentially activates memory B lymphocytes. Analysis of the gene expression profiles induced by CIDR1alpha and anti-Ig activation using a cDNA microarray demonstrated a low degree of homology in the signatures imposed by both stimuli. The microarray data correlate with the functional analysis demonstrating that CIDR1alpha activates various immunological pathways and protects B cells from apoptosis. Together, the results provide evidence for a role of malaria in preferentially activating the memory B cell compartment. The polyclonal B cell activation and augmented survival induced by CIDR1alpha is of relevance for understanding the mechanisms behind the increased risk of Burkitt's lymphoma in malaria endemic areas.

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