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Human B cell clonal expansion and convergent antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2


During virus infection B cells are critical for the production of antibodies and protective immunity. Here we show that the human B cell compartment in patients with diagnostically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 and clinical COVID-19 is rapidly altered with the early recruitment of B cells expressing a limited subset of IGHV genes, progressing to a highly polyclonal response of B cells with broader IGHV gene usage and extensive class switching to IgG and IgA subclasses with limited somatic hypermutation in the initial weeks of infection. We identify extensive convergence of antibody sequences across SARS-CoV-2 patients, highlighting stereotyped naive responses to this virus. Notably, sequence-based detection in COVID-19 patients of convergent B cell clonotypes previously reported in SARS-CoV infection predicts the presence of SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive antibody titers specific for the receptor-binding domain. These findings offer molecular insights into shared features of human B cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other zoonotic spillover coronaviruses.

Type Journal
Authors Nielsen, S. C. A.; Yang, F.; Jackson, K. J. L.; Hoh, R. A.; Roltgen, K.; Stevens, B.; Lee, J. Y.; Rustagi, A.; Rogers, A. J.; Powell, A. E.; Najeeb, J.; Otrelo-Cardoso, A. R.; Yost, K. E.; Daniel, B.; Chang, H. Y.; Satpathy, A. T.; Jardetzky, T. S.; Kim, P. S.; Wang, T. T.; Pinsky, B. A.; Blish, C. A.; Boyd, S. D.
Responsible Garvan Author Dr Katherine Jackson
Publisher Name Cell Host & Microbe
Published Date 2020-10-07
Published Volume 28
Published Issue 4
Published Pages 516-525
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1101/2020.07.08.194456
URL link to publisher's version