Repertoire Diversification of Primary vs Memory B Cell Subsets

  • N. R. Klinman
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 229)


The immune system accomplishes the specific recognition of foreign antigens, in the absence of reactivity to self antigens, by: (a) creating an enormous repertoire of cells each expressing an unique variable (V) region (clonotype); (b) purging the repertoire of cells whose V regions recognize self-antigenic determinants, and (c) enabling each immunogen to selectively stimulate only those cells whose V regions are high affinity for determinants of that immunogen. While this overall strategy is pervasive among both the B and T cell systems of immunocompetent animals, there is enormous variation in the extent of repertoire diversity and the means by which repertoire diversity is achieved, even among the B cell subsets of an individual. Thus, prior to any overt antigenic stimulation, the murine B cell system consists of at least four distinct B cell subsets differing in repertoire diversity and responsiveness to antigenic stimulation. After immunization, the repertoire is supplemented by the generation of memory B cells, which in some, but not all cases, enables the refinement of that portion of the repertoire that initially recognized the immunogen. The existence of a mechanism that improves the pre-existing repertoire suggests that the initial repertoire may have been functionally deficient in the spectrum of V regions capable of high affinity recognition of certain antigens. In this sense the generation of memory B cells can fill these gaps, the strategy for V region diversification used to generate and propagate memory B cells would appear to be both unique and extremely powerful.


Germinal Center Versus Region Cell Repertoire Memory Response Adult Bone Marrow 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. R. Klinman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ImmunologyThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA

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