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AbstractAtypical memory B cells (aMBCs) are found in elevated numbers in individuals exposed to malaria. A key question is whether malaria induces aMBCs as a result of exposure to Ag, or non‐Ag‐specific mechanisms. We identified Plasmodium and bystander tetanus toxoid (TT) specific B cells in individuals from areas of previous and persistent exposure to malaria using tetramers. Malaria‐specific B cells were more likely to be aMBCs than TT‐specific B cells. However, TT‐specific B cells from individuals with continuous exposure to malaria were more likely to be aMBCs than TT‐specific B cells in individuals from areas where transmission has ceased. Finally, sequences of BCRs specific for a blood stage malaria‐Ag were more highly mutated than sequences from TT‐specific BCRs and under strong negative selection, indicative of ongoing antigenic pressure. Our data suggest both persistent Ag exposure and the inflammatory environment shape the B‐cell response to malaria and bystander Ags.

Original publication





European Journal of Immunology



Publication Date





1187 - 1194