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Immunol Rev. 2018 May;283(1):150-160. doi: 10.1111/imr.12651.

Memory control by the B cell antigen receptor.

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Institute of Cellular & Molecular Immunology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


The generation of memory B cells (MBCs) that have undergone immunoglobulin class switching from IgM, which dominates primary antibody responses, to other immunoglobulin isoforms is a hallmark of immune memory. Hence, humoral immunological memory is characterized by the presence of serum immunoglobulins of IgG subtypes known as the γ-globulin fraction of blood plasma proteins. These antibodies reflect the antigen experience of B lymphocytes and their repeated triggering. In fact, efficient protection against a previously encountered pathogen is critically linked to the production of pathogen-specific IgG molecules even in those cases where the primary immune response required cellular immunity, for example, T cell-mediated clearance of intracellular pathogens such as viruses. Besides IgG, also IgA and IgE can provide humoral immunity depending on the microbe's nature and infection route. The molecular mechanisms underlying the preponderance of switched immunoglobulin isotypes during memory antibody responses are a matter of active and controversial debate. Here, we summarize the phenotypic characteristics of distinct MBC subpopulations and discuss the decisive roles of different B cell antigen receptor isotypes for the functional traits of class-switched B cell populations.


B cells; antibodies; memory; signal transduction; signaling proteins; vaccination

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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