The germline immunoglobulin (Ig) variable heavy chain 4–34 (VH4-34) gene segment encodes in humans intrinsically self-reactive antibodies that recognize I/i carbohydrates expressed by erythrocytes with a specific motif in their framework region 1 (FWR1). VH4-34–expressing clones are common in the naive B cell repertoire but are rarely found in IgG memory B cells from healthy individuals. In contrast, CD27+IgG+ B cells from patients genetically deficient for IRAK4 or MYD88, which mediate the function of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) except TLR3, contained VH4-34–expressing clones and showed decreased somatic hypermutation frequencies. In addition, VH4-34–encoded IgGs from IRAK4- and MYD88-deficient patients often displayed an unmutated FWR1 motif, revealing that these antibodies still recognize I/i antigens, whereas their healthy donor counterparts harbored FWR1 mutations abolishing self-reactivity. However, this paradoxical self-reactivity correlated with these VH4-34–encoded IgG clones binding commensal bacteria antigens. Hence, B cells expressing germline-encoded self-reactive VH4-34 antibodies may represent an innate-like B cell population specialized in the containment of commensal bacteria when gut barriers are breached.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at
You do not currently have access to this content.