Molecular characterization of the early B cell response to pulmonary Cryptococcus neoformans infection

Soma Rohatgi, Liise Anne Pirofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The role of B cells in host defense against fungi has been difficult to establish. We quantified and determined the molecular derivation of B-1a, B-1b, and B-2 B cell populations in C57BL/6 mice after pulmonary infection with Cryptococcus neoformans. Total B-1 and B-2 cell numbers increased in lungs and peritoneal cavity as early as day 1 postinfection, but lacked signs of clonal expansion. Labeled capsular (24067) and acapsular (Cap67) C. neoformans strains were used to identify C. neoformans-binding B cell subsets by flow cytometry. Peritoneal cavity B-1a B cells exhibited the most acapsular and capsular C. neoformans binding in C. neoformans-infected mice, and C. neoformans-selected B-1 B cells secreted laminarin- and C. neoformans-binding IgM. Single - cell PCR-based sequence analysis of B-1a, B-1b, and B-2 cell IgH V region H chain (VH) genes revealed increased usage of VH11 and V H12, respectively, in acapsular and capsular C. neoformans-selected B-1a cells. Germline VH segments were used, with capsular C. neoformans-selected cells having less junctional diversity than acapsular C. neoformans -selected cells. Further studies in B-1 B cell-depleted mice showed that these mice had higher brain and lung fungal burdens and less alveolar macrophage phagocytosis of C. neoformans than did control and B-1a B cell-reconstituted mice. Taken together, these results establish a mechanistic role for B-1 B cells in the innate B cell response to pulmonary infection with C. neoformans and reveal that IgM-producing B-1a cells, which express germline VH genes, bind C. neoformans and contribute to early fungal clearance. Thus, B-1a B cells provide a first line of defense during pulmonary C. neoformans infection in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5820-5830
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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