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Direct visualization of endogenous Salmonella‐specific B cells reveals a marked delay in clonal expansion and germinal center development


CD4(+) T cells and B cells are both essential for acquired immunity to Salmonella infection. It is well established that Salmonella inhibit host CD4(+) T-cell responses, but a corresponding inhibitory effect on B cells is less well defined. Here, we utilize an Ag tetramer and pull-down enrichment strategy to directly visualize OVA-specific B cells in mice, as they respond to infection with Salmonella-OVA. Surprisingly, OVA-specific B-cell expansion and germinal center formation was not detected until bacteria were cleared from the host. Furthermore, Salmonella infection also actively inhibited both B- and T-cell responses to the same coinjected Ag but this did not require the presence of iNOS. The Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 2 (SPI2) locus has been shown to be responsible for inhibition of Salmonella-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses, and an examination of SPI2-deficient bacteria demonstrated a recovery in B-cell expansion in infected mice. Together, these data suggest that Salmonella can simultaneously inhibit host B- and T-cell responses using SPI2-dependent mechanisms.

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