Clonal selection drives protective memory B cell responses in controlled human malaria infection

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Science Immunology  16 Feb 2018:
Vol. 3, Issue 20, eaap8029
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aap8029

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Memories of exposure

Protective memory B cell responses are shaped through multiple mechanisms, including clonal selection of naïve B cells and affinity maturation. Memory B cell responses are considered critical to the development of a successful malaria vaccine, and Murugan et al. characterize memory B cell responses to the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite (PfCSP) protein in human volunteers immunized with sporozoites. They observed that repeated immunization induced potent responses to the immunodominant PfCSP NANP repeat by the clonal selection of naïve and preexisting memory B cell precursors and was less influenced by affinity maturation. Computational modeling indicated that these responses are shaped by the complexity of the antigen, and these findings provide a new perspective on protective B cell responses.