Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies protect against helminth infections but can also cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Despite their role in human health, the cells that produce these antibodies are rarely observed and remain enigmatic. We isolated single IgE B cells from individuals with food allergies and used single-cell RNA sequencing to elucidate the gene expression and splicing patterns unique to these cells. We identified a surprising example of convergent evolution in which IgE antibodies underwent identical gene rearrangements in unrelated individuals. Through the acquisition of variable region mutations, these IgE antibodies gained high affinity and unexpected cross-reactivity to the clinically important peanut allergens Ara h 2 and Ara h 3. These findings provide insight into IgE B cell transcriptomics and enable biochemical dissection of this antibody class.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.