Plasmodium-specific atypical memory B cells are short-lived activated B cells

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A subset of atypical memory B cells accumulates in malaria and several infections, autoimmune disorders and aging in both humans and mice. It has been suggested these cells are exhausted long-lived memory B cells, and their accumulation may contribute to poor acquisition of long-lasting immunity to certain chronic infections, such as malaria and HIV. Here, we generated an immunoglobulin heavy chain knock-in mouse with a BCR that recognizes MSP1 of the rodent malaria parasite, . In combination with a mosquito-initiated infection, we show that -specific atypical memory B cells are short-lived and disappear upon natural resolution of chronic infection. These cells show features of activation, proliferation, DNA replication, and plasmablasts. Our data demonstrate that -specific atypical memory B cells are not a subset of long-lived memory B cells, but rather short-lived activated cells, and part of a physiologic ongoing B-cell response.

Journal details

Journal eLife
Volume 7
Pages e39800
Available online
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