Insights From Analysis of Human Antigen-Specific Memory B Cell Repertoires

Front Immunol. 2019 Jan 15;9:3064. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.03064. eCollection 2018.


Memory B cells that are generated during an infection or following vaccination act as sentinels to guard against future infections. Upon repeat antigen exposure memory B cells differentiate into new antibody-secreting plasma cells to provide rapid and sustained protection. Some pathogens evade or suppress the humoral immune system, or induce memory B cells with a diminished ability to differentiate into new plasma cells. This leaves the host vulnerable to chronic or recurrent infections. Single cell approaches coupled with next generation antibody gene sequencing facilitate a detailed analysis of the pathogen-specific memory B cell repertoire. Monoclonal antibodies that are generated from antibody gene sequences allow a functional analysis of the repertoire. This review discusses what has been learned thus far from analysis of diverse pathogen-specific memory B cell compartments and describes major differences in their repertoires. Such information may illuminate ways to advance the goal of improving vaccine and therapeutic antibody design.

Keywords: antibody repertoires; memory B cells; monoclonal antibody; next generation sequencing; vaccination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / metabolism
  • Antigens / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Plasma Cells / immunology*
  • Plasma Cells / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antigens