ABCB1 transporter discriminates human resting naive B cells from cycling transitional and memory B cells



The exact identification of B cell subsets is instrumental to understand their dynamics under physiological and pathological conditions. Human memory B cells are currently identified according to the expression of CD27, which is absent on naive B cells. We report here that the ATP-binding cassette (ABC)B1 transporter is exclusively present on mature CD27 naive B cells, while it is absent in CD27+ memory B cells and in a heterogeneous subset of CD27 cells that comprise both switch memory and transitional B cells. Thus, ABCB1 activity precisely discriminates naive from transitional and all memory B cells. Using this improved method to discriminate human B cell subsets, and Ki67 staining to identify recently divided cells, we show that in both cord blood and adult peripheral blood, mature naive B cells are quiescent while transitional B cells and memory B cells have a high in vivo turnover.