Antigen-level resolution of commensal-specific B cell responses can be enabled by phage display screening coupled with B cell tetramers

Immunity. 2024 Jun 11;57(6):1428-1441.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2024.04.014. Epub 2024 May 8.


Induction of commensal-specific immunity contributes to tissue homeostasis, yet the mechanisms underlying induction of commensal-specific B cells remain poorly understood in part due to a lack of tools to identify these cells. Using phage display, we identified segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) antigens targeted by serum and intestinal antibodies and generated B cell tetramers to track SFB-specific B cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissues. We revealed a compartmentalized response in SFB-specific B cell activation, with a gradient of immunoglobulin A (IgA), IgG1, and IgG2b isotype production along Peyer's patches contrasted by selective production of IgG2b within mesenteric lymph nodes. V(D)J sequencing and monoclonal antibody generation identified somatic hypermutation driven affinity maturation to SFB antigens under homeostatic conditions. Combining phage display and B cell tetramers will enable investigation of the ontogeny and function of commensal-specific B cell responses in tissue immunity, inflammation, and repair.

Keywords: B cell; BCR; IgA; IgG; affinity maturation; commensal; microbiota; phage display; segmented filamentous bacteria; tetramer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes* / immunology
  • Cell Surface Display Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Peptide Library
  • Peyer's Patches / immunology
  • Somatic Hypermutation, Immunoglobulin
  • Symbiosis / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Peptide Library
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin A