An atlas of B-cell clonal distribution in the human body

Wenzhao Meng, Bochao Zhang, Gregory W. Schwartz, Aaron M. Rosenfeld, Daqiu Ren, Joseph J.C. Thome, Dustin J. Carpenter, Nobuhide Matsuoka, Harvey Lerner, Amy L. Friedman, Tomer Granot, Donna L. Farber, Mark J. Shlomchik, Uri Hershberg, Eline T. Luning Prak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


B-cell responses result in clonal expansion, and can occur in a variety of tissues. To define how B-cell clones are distributed in the body, we sequenced 933,427 B-cell clonal lineages and mapped them to eight different anatomic compartments in six human organ donors. We show that large B-cell clones partition into two broad networks-one spans the blood, bone marrow, spleen and lung, while the other is restricted to tissues within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (jejunum, ileum and colon). Notably, GI tract clones display extensive sharing of sequence variants among different portions of the tract and have higher frequencies of somatic hypermutation, suggesting extensive and serial rounds of clonal expansion and selection. Our findings provide an anatomic atlas of B-cell clonal lineages, their properties and tissue connections. This resource serves as a foundation for studies of tissue-based immunity, including vaccine responses, infections, autoimmunity and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-886
Number of pages8
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Nature America, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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