Genetic regulation of antibody responsiveness to immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice

Hazel C. Poyntz, Angela Jones, Ruy Jauregui, Wayne Young, Aurélie Gestin, Anna Mooney, Olivier Lamiable, Eric Altermann, Alfonso Schmidt, Olivier Gasser, Laura Weyrich, Christopher J. Jolly, Michelle A. Linterman, Graham Le Gros, Edwin D. Hawkins, Elizabeth Forbes-Blom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Antibody-mediated immunity is highly protective against disease. The majority of current vaccines confer protection through humoral immunity, but there is high variability in responsiveness across populations. Identifying immune mechanisms that mediate low antibody responsiveness may provide potential strategies to boost vaccine efficacy. Here, we report diverse antibody responsiveness to unadjuvanted as well as adjuvanted immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice, resulting in high and low antibody response phenotypes. Furthermore, these antibody phenotypes were not affected by changes in environmental factors such as the gut microbiota composition. Antigen-specific B cells following immunization had a marked difference in capability to class switch, resulting in perturbed IgG isotype antibody production. In vitro, a B-cell intrinsic defect in the regulation of class-switch recombination was identified in mice with low IgG antibody production. Whole genome sequencing identified polymorphisms associated with the magnitude of antibody produced, and we propose candidate genes that may regulate isotype class-switching capability. This study highlights that mice sourced from different vendors can have significantly altered humoral immune response profiles, and provides a resource to interrogate genetic regulators of antibody responsiveness. Together these results further our understanding of immune heterogeneity and suggest additional research on the genetic influences of adjuvanted vaccine strategies is warranted for enhancing vaccine efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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