B cell subsets expressing the transcription factor T-bet are associated with humoral immune responses and autoimmunity. Here, we examined the anatomic distribution, clonal relationships, and functional properties of T-bet and T-bet memory B cells (MBCs) in the context of the influenza-specific immune response. In mice, both T-bet and T-bet hemagglutinin (HA)-specific B cells arose in germinal centers, acquired memory B cell markers, and persisted indefinitely. Lineage tracing and IgH repertoire analyses revealed minimal interconversion between T-bet and T-bet MBCs, and parabionts showed differential tissue residency and recirculation properties. T-bet MBCs could be subdivided into recirculating T-bet MBCs and spleen-resident T-bet MBCs. Human MBCs displayed similar features. Conditional gene deletion studies revealed that T-bet expression in B cells was required for nearly all HA stalk-specific IgG2c antibodies and for durable neutralizing titers to influenza. Thus, T-bet expression distinguishes MBC subsets that have profoundly different homing, residency, and functional properties, and mediate distinct aspects of humoral immune memory.
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