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This article is part of the Research Topic Challenging human B cell memory

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Immunol., 26 December 2011 |

The relationship between CD27 negative and positive B cell populations in human peripheral blood

  • 1 Department of Immunobiology, Kings’ College London School of Medicine, Guy’s Campus, London, UK
  • 2 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

CD27 expression has been used to distinguish between memory and naive B cells in humans. However, low levels of mutated and isotype-switched CD27−IgD− cells are seen in healthy adults, and these are increased in some autoimmune diseases and in the elderly. Thus CD27 is not a universal marker of memory B cells in humans. Various hypotheses have been put forward as to the function of the CD27− memory population. Since we have previously found high-throughput IGHV repertoire analysis useful to distinguish “innate-like” memory B cells (CD27+IgD+), we have employed similar analyses to elucidate the relationship between CD27− and CD27+ memory B cells. IgM+IgD− memory cells in both the CD27+ and CD27− compartments share the unique characteristics of the “innate-like” IgM+IgD+CD27+ cells. The switched CD27+ and CD27− memory cells share a similar IGHV repertoire, having more in common with each other than with “innate-like” memory cells, although it is interesting that IgG2 and IgA2 subclasses of antibody in both switched memory populations have a more “innate-like” repertoire. Clonality analysis shows evidence of a close clonal relationship between the two populations in that both CD27− and CD27+ switched memory cells can be found in the same genealogical tree. The expression of CD27 does not appear to occur in a linear developmental fashion, since we see CD27− cells as precursors of CD27+ cells and vice versa. Despite the similarities, the CDR-H3 repertoire of the CD27− cells is significantly different from both the CD27+IgD+ and CD27+IgD− populations, indicating that perhaps the lack of CD27 might be related to binding properties of the Ig CDR-H3 region.

Keywords: CD27, memory, Ig gene repertoire, subclass heterogeneity, CDR-H3

Citation: Wu Y-CB, Kipling D and Dunn-Walters DK (2011) The relationship between CD27 negative and positive B cell populations in human peripheral blood. Front. Immun. 2:81. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2011.00081

Received: 13 October 2011; Paper pending published: 16 November 2011;
Accepted: 05 December 2011; Published online: 26 December 2011.

Edited by:

David Tarlinton, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia

Reviewed by:

Claudia Berek, Charite University Medicine Berlin, Germany
Dinesh S. Rao, University of California Los Angeles, USA

Copyright: © 2011 Wu, Kipling and Dunn-Walters. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Deborah K. Dunn-Walters, Department of Immunobiology, King’s College London School of Medicine, Guy’s Campus, London SE1 9RT, UK. e-mail: