A model B-cell superantigen and the immunobiology of B lymphocytes

Clin Immunol. 2002 Feb;102(2):117-34. doi: 10.1006/clim.2001.5143.


Recent reports have shown that protein A of Staphylococcus aureus (SpA) is a specific toxin for B cells by virtue of specific binding interactions with conserved sites on the V(H) region of the B-cell antigen receptor. The structural basis for these Fab-binding interactions has recently been revealed in crystallographic analyses, which have demonstrated many similarities with the interactions of T-cell superantigens. Investigations of the in vivo response to SpA have illustrated how a B-cell superantigen can be used to provide a window for examining fundamental principles that underlie the immunobiology of B lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding / immunology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / chemistry
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / chemistry
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / immunology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology*
  • Superantigens / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Staphylococcal Protein A
  • Superantigens