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August 2022

Recall of B cell memory depends on relative locations of prime and boost immunization


Kuraoka M, Yeh CH, Bajic G, Kotaki R, Song S, Windsor I, Harrison SC, Kelsoe G.

Sci Immunol. 2022 May 6;7(71):eabn5311. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abn5311. Epub 2022 May 6. PMID: 35522723; PMCID: PMC9169233



Immunization or microbial infection can establish long-term B cell memory not only systemically but also locally. Evidence has suggested that local B cell memory contributes to early local plasmacytic responses after secondary challenge. However, it is unclear whether locality of immunization plays any role in memory B cell participation in recall germinal centers (GCs), which is essential for updating their B cell antigen receptors (BCRs). Using single B cell culture and fate mapping, we have characterized BCR repertoires in recall GCs after boost immunizations at sites local or distal to the priming. Local boosts with homologous antigen recruit the progeny of primary GC B cells to recall GCs more efficiently than do distal boosts. Recall GCs elicited by local boosts contain significantly more B cells with elevated levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) mutation and higher avidity BCRs. This local preference is unaffected by blocking CD40:CD154 interaction to terminate active, GC responses. Local boosts with heterologous antigens elicit secondary GCs with B cell populations enriched for cross-reactivity to the prime and boost antigens; in contrast, cross-reactive GC B cells are rare after distal boosts. Our results suggest that local B cell memory is retained in the form of memory B cells, GC B cells, and GC phenotype B cells that are independent of organized GC structures and that these persistent "primed B cells" contribute to recall GC responses at local sites. Our findings indicate the importance of locality in humoral immunity and inform serial vaccination strategies for evolving viruses.