Self-tolerance curtails the B cell repertoire to microbial epitopes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Immunological tolerance removes or inactivates self-reactive B cells, including those that also recognize cross-reactive foreign antigens. Whereas a few microbial pathogens exploit these "holes" in the B cell repertoire by mimicking host antigens to evade immune surveillance, the extent to which tolerance reduces the B cell repertoire to foreign antigens is unknown. Here, we use single-cell cultures to determine the repertoires of human B cell antigen receptors (BCRs) before (transitional B cells) and after (mature B cells) the second B cell tolerance checkpoint in both healthy donors and in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) . In healthy donors, the majority (~70%) of transitional B cells that recognize foreign antigens also bind human self-antigens (foreign+self), and peripheral tolerance halves the frequency of foreign+self-reactive mature B cells. In contrast, in SLE patients who are defective in the second tolerance checkpoint, frequencies of foreign+self-reactive B cells remain unchanged during maturation of transitional to mature B cells. Patterns of foreign+self-reactivity among mature B cells from healthy donors differ from those of SLE patients. We propose that immune tolerance significantly reduces the scope of the BCR repertoire to microbial pathogens and that cross-reactivity between foreign and self epitopes may be more common than previously appreciated.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Watanabe, A; Su, K-Y; Kuraoka, M; Yang, G; Reynolds, AE; Schmidt, AG; Harrison, SC; Haynes, BF; St Clair, EW; Kelsoe, G

Published Date

  • May 16, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 10

PubMed ID

  • 31092727

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6542615

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2379-3708

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1172/jci.insight.122551


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States