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Nat Immunol. 2012 Feb 26;13(4):396-404. doi: 10.1038/ni.2256.

IgE⁺ memory B cells and plasma cells generated through a germinal-center pathway.

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Department of Immunology, Genentech, South San Francisco, California, USA.


Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies are pathogenic in asthma and allergic diseases, but the in vivo biology of IgE-producing (IgE(+)) cells is poorly understood. A model of the differentiation of IgE(+) B cells proposes that IgE(+) cells develop through a germinal-center IgG1(+) intermediate and that IgE memory resides in the compartment of IgG1(+) memory B cells. Here we have used a reporter mouse expressing green fluorescent protein associated with membrane IgE transcripts (IgE-GFP) to assess in vivo IgE responses. In contrast to the IgG1-centered model of IgE switching and memory, we found that IgE(+) cells developed through a germinal-center IgE(+) intermediate to form IgE(+) memory B cells and plasma cells. Our studies delineate a new model for the in vivo biology of IgE switching and memory.

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