The Shaping of a B Cell Pool Maximally Responsive to Infections

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1 Scopus citations


B cell subsets differ in development, tissue distribution, and mechanisms of activation. In response to infections, however, all can differentiate into extrafollicular plasmablasts that rapidly provide highly protective antibodies, indicating that these plasmablasts are the main humoral immune response effectors. Yet, the effectiveness of this response type depends on the presence of antigen-specific precursors in the circulating mature B cell pool, a pool that is generated initially through the stochastic processes of B cell receptor assembly. Importantly, germinal centers then mold the repertoire of this B cell pool to be increasingly responsive to pathogens by generating a broad array of antimicrobial memory B cells that act as highly effective precursors of extrafollicular plasmablasts. Such B cell repertoire molding occurs in two ways: continuously via the chronic germinal centers of mucosal lymphoid tissues, driven by the presence of the microbiome, and via de novo generated germinal centers following acute infections. For effectively evaluating humoral immunity as a correlate of immune protection, it might be critical to measure memory B cell pools in addition to antibody titers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-129
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - Apr 26 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • antibodies
  • B cell repertoire
  • B cell subsets
  • extrafollicular foci
  • extrafollicular responses
  • germinal centers
  • host-pathogen interaction
  • immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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