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J Immunol. 2010 Nov 1;185(9):5377-83. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001587. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Rapid generation of rotavirus-specific human monoclonal antibodies from small-intestinal mucosa.

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Center for Immune Regulation, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.


The gut mucosal surface is efficiently protected by Abs, and this site represents one of the richest compartments of Ab-secreting cells in the body. A simple and effective method to generate Ag-specific human monoclonal Abs (hmAbs) from such cells is lacking. In this paper, we describe a method to generate hmAbs from single Ag-specific IgA- or IgM-secreting cells of the intestinal mucosa. We found that CD138-positive plasma cells from the duodenum expressed surface IgA or IgM. Using eGFP-labeled virus-like particles, we harnessed the surface Ig expression to detect rotavirus-specific plasma cells at low frequency (0.03-0.35%) in 9 of 10 adult subjects. Single cells were isolated by FACS, and as they were viable, further testing of secreted Abs by ELISPOT and ELISA indicated a highly specific selection procedure. Ab genes from single cells of three donors were cloned, sequenced, and expressed as recombinant hmAbs. Of 26 cloned H chain Ab genes, 22 were IgA and 4 were IgM. The genes were highly mutated, and there was an overrepresentation of the VH4 family. Of 10 expressed hmAbs, 8 were rotavirus-reactive (6 with K(d) < 1 × 10(-10)). Importantly, our method allows generation of hmAbs from cells implicated in the protection of mucosal surfaces, and it can potentially be used in passive vaccination efforts and for discovery of epitopes directly relevant to human immunity.

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