Pattern recognition by B cells: the role of antigen repetitiveness versus Toll-like receptors

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2008;319:1-15. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-73900-5_1.


Viruses induce excellent antibody responses due to several intrinsic features. Their repetitive, organised structure is optimal for the activation of the B cell receptor (BCR), leading to an increased humoral response and a decreased dependence on T cell help. Viruses also trigger Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which in addition to increasing overall Ig levels, drive the switch to the IgG2a isotype. This isotype is more efficient in viral and bacterial clearance and will activate complement, which in turn lowers the threshold of BCR activation. Exploiting these characteristics in vaccine design may help us to create vaccines which are as safe as a recombinant vaccine yet still as effective as a virus in inducing B cell responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Complement Activation
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Viral Vaccines