Secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) enhances host-microbiota symbiosis, whereas SIgM remains poorly understood. We found that gut IgM+ plasma cells (PCs) were more abundant in humans than mice and clonally related to a large repertoire of memory IgM+ B cells disseminated throughout the intestine but rare in systemic lymphoid organs. In addition to sharing a gut-specific gene signature with memory IgA+ B cells, memory IgM+ B cells were related to some IgA+ clonotypes and switched to IgA in response to T cell-independent or T cell-dependent signals. These signals induced abundant IgM which, together with SIgM from clonally affiliated PCs, recognized mucus-embedded commensals. Bacteria recognized by human SIgM were dually coated by SIgA and showed increased richness and diversity compared to IgA-only-coated or uncoated bacteria. Thus, SIgM may emerge from pre-existing memory rather than newly activated naive IgM+ B cells and could help SIgA to anchor highly diverse commensal communities to mucus. Magri et al. found that the human gut includes a large memory IgM+ B cell repertoire clonally related to plasma cells mounting SIgM responses against mucus-embedded commensals co-targeted by SIgA. Dually coated bacteria are detected in humans but not mice and show increased diversity and richness compared to SIgA-only-coated or uncoated bacteria.
- Memory B cells
- Plasma cells