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Immunity. 2012 May 25;36(5):857-72. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.02.009. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Fluorescent in vivo detection reveals that IgE(+) B cells are restrained by an intrinsic cell fate predisposition.

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Sandler Asthma Basic Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


IgE antibodies may be protective in parasite immunity, but their aberrant production can lead to allergic disease and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Despite the importance of IgE regulation, few studies have directly examined the B cells that express IgE, because these cells are rare and difficult to detect. Here, we describe fluorescent IgE reporter mice and validate a flow cytometry procedure to allow sensitive and specific identification of IgE-expressing B cells in vivo. Similar to IgG1(+) cells, IgE(+) B cells differentiated into germinal center (GC) B cells and plasma cells (PCs) during primary immune responses to a T cell-dependent hapten-protein conjugate and the helminth Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. However, the participation of IgE(+) B cells in GCs was transient. IgE(+) B cells had an atypical propensity to upregulate the transcription factor Blimp-1 and undergo PC differentiation. Most IgE(+) PCs were short lived and showed reduced affinity maturation, revealing intrinsic mechanisms that restrict the IgE antibody response.

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