Research ArticleADAPTIVE IMMUNITY

Shaping of infant B cell receptor repertoires by environmental factors and infectious disease

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Feb 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 481, eaat2004
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat2004

Teaching baby B cells

Antibodies are central to immune defense. B cells can generate several antibody isotypes that fulfill different functional roles, and repeated antigen exposure induces antibody somatic hypermutation. Nielsen et al. studied a longitudinal birth cohort to determine how antigen exposure early in life affects human antibody production. Somatic hypermutation increased as the children got older, and certain IGHV genes were associated with different isotypes. They found that increased pathogen exposure was associated with IgD and IgM mutations. Children with eczema or allergies had higher rates of IgE mutation. These valuable data shed light on how human B cells grow up.

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