Infant and Adult Human B Cell Responses to Rotavirus Share Common Immunodominant Variable Gene Repertoires

Jörn Hendrik Weitkamp, Nicole Kallewaard, Koichi Kusuhara, Elizabeth Bures, John V. Williams, Bonnie LaFleur, Harry B. Greenberg, James E. Crowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Ab repertoires exhibit marked restrictions during fetal life characterized by biases of variable gene usage and lack of junctional diversity. We tested the hypothesis that Ab repertoire restriction contributes to the observed poor quality of specific Ab responses made by infants to viral infections. We analyzed the molecular determinants of B cell responses in humans to two Ags of rotavirus (RV), a common and clinically important infection of human infants. We sequenced Ab H and L chain V region genes (VH and VL) of clones expanded from single B cells responding to RV virus protein 6 or virus protein 7. We found that adults exhibited a distinct bias in use of gene segments in the VH1 and VH4 families, for example, V H1-46, VH4-31, and VH4-61. This gene segment bias differed markedly from the VH3 dominant bias seen in randomly selected adult B cells. Recombinant Abs incorporating any of those three immunodominant VH segments bound to RV-infected cells and also to purified RV particles. The RV-specific B cell repertoires of infants aged 2-11 mo and those of adults were highly related when compared by VH, D, JH, VL, and JL segment selection, extent of junctional diversity, and mean H chain complementarity determining region 3 length. These data suggest that residual fetal bias of the B cell repertoire is not a limiting determinant of the quality of Ab responses to viruses of infants beyond the neonatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4680-4688
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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