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Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8) is a B cell tropic human pathogen, which is present in vivo in monotypic immunoglobulin λ (Igλ) light chain but polyclonal B cells. In the current study, we use cell sorting to infect specific B cell lineages from human tonsil specimens in order to examine the immunophenotypic alterations associated with KSHV infection. We describe IL-6 dependent maturation of naïve B lymphocytes in response to KSHV infection and determine that the Igλ monotypic bias of KSHV infection in vivo is due to viral induction of BCR revision. Infection of immunoglobulin κ (Igκ) naïve B cells induces expression of Igλ and isotypic inclusion, with eventual loss of Igκ. We show that this phenotypic shift occurs via re-induction of Rag-mediated V(D)J recombination. These data explain the selective presence of KSHV in Igλ B cells in vivo and provide the first evidence that a human pathogen can manipulate the molecular mechanisms responsible for immunoglobulin diversity.


This article was originally published in PLoS Pathogens, volume 14, issue 4, in 2018. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006967


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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