Apr 12, 2020

Plasmodium falciparum-specific IgM B cells dominate in children, expand with malaria and produce parasite inhibitory IgM

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Christine HoppPeter D Crompton


IgG antibodies are known to play a central role in naturally acquired immunity to blood-stage malaria in humans, but little is known about the IgM response to blood-stage malaria, the mechanisms by which IgM may protect, or the underlying biology of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf)-specific IgM B cells. In a Mali cohort spanning infants to adults we conducted a longitudinal analysis of B cells specific for the Pf blood-stage antigens AMA1 and MSP1, as well as the comparator antigen influenza hemagglutinin (HA). At the uninfected baseline, before the malaria season, Pf-specific memory B cells (MBCs) in children are disproportionally IgM+ and only gradually shift to IgG+ with age, in contrast to HA-specific MBCs that are predominantly IgG+ from infancy to adulthood. In response to acute febrile malaria, Pf-specific IgM B cells increase in frequency and upregulate activation and co-stimulatory markers. B cell receptor (BCR) analysis showed that Pf-specific IgM B cells are somatically hypermutated at levels comparable to HA-specific IgG B cells. Finally, IgM antibodies from the plasma of malaria-exposed individuals were comparable to IgG in inhibiting Pf blood-stage growth in vitro, and significantly better at enhancing phagocytosis of P...Continue Reading

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