B-cell memory and the persistence of antibody responses

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Antigens such as viral envelope proteins and bacterial exotoxins induce responses which result in the production of neutralizing antibody. These responses persist for years and provide highly efficient defence against reinfection. During these antibody responses a proportion of participating B cells mutate the genes that encode their immunoglobulin variable regions. This can increase the affinity of the antibody, but can also induce autoreactive B cells. Selection mechanisms operate which allow the cells with high affinity for the provoking antigen to persist, while other B cells recruited into the response die.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-50
Number of pages6
JournalRoyal Society of London. Philosophical Transactions B. Biological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2000