During virus infection B cells are critical for the production of antibodies and protective immunity. Establishment of a diverse antibody repertoire occurs by rearrangement of germline DNA at the immunoglobulin heavy and light chain loci to encode the membrane-bound form of antibodies, the B cell antigen receptor. Little is known about the B cells and antigen receptors stimulated by the novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 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 V genes, and extensive activation of IgG and IgA subclasses without significant somatic mutation. We detect expansion of B cell clones as well as convergent antibodies with highly similar sequences across SARS-CoV-2 patients, highlighting stereotyped naïve responses to this virus. A shared convergent B cell clonotype in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients was previously seen in patients with SARS. These findings offer molecular insights into shared features of human B cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 and other zoonotic spillover coronaviruses.

References

PubMed