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      Broadly cross-reactive antibodies dominate the human B cell response against 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus infection

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          Abstract

          Although scarce after annual influenza vaccination, B cells producing antibodies capable of neutralizing multiple influenza strains are abundant in humans infected with pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza.

          Abstract

          The 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza pandemic demonstrated the global health threat of reassortant influenza strains. Herein, we report a detailed analysis of plasmablast and monoclonal antibody responses induced by pandemic H1N1 infection in humans. Unlike antibodies elicited by annual influenza vaccinations, most neutralizing antibodies induced by pandemic H1N1 infection were broadly cross-reactive against epitopes in the hemagglutinin (HA) stalk and head domain of multiple influenza strains. The antibodies were from cells that had undergone extensive affinity maturation. Based on these observations, we postulate that the plasmablasts producing these broadly neutralizing antibodies were predominantly derived from activated memory B cells specific for epitopes conserved in several influenza strains. Consequently, most neutralizing antibodies were broadly reactive against divergent H1N1 and H5N1 influenza strains. This suggests that a pan-influenza vaccine may be possible, given the right immunogen. Antibodies generated potently protected and rescued mice from lethal challenge with pandemic H1N1 or antigenically distinct influenza strains, making them excellent therapeutic candidates.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Cross-reactive antibody responses to the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus.

          A new pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus has emerged, causing illness globally, primarily in younger age groups. To assess the level of preexisting immunity in humans and to evaluate seasonal vaccine strategies, we measured the antibody response to the pandemic virus resulting from previous influenza infection or vaccination in different age groups. Using a microneutralization assay, we measured cross-reactive antibodies to pandemic H1N1 virus (2009 H1N1) in stored serum samples from persons who either donated blood or were vaccinated with recent seasonal or 1976 swine influenza vaccines. A total of 4 of 107 persons (4%) who were born after 1980 had preexisting cross-reactive antibody titers of 40 or more against 2009 H1N1, whereas 39 of 115 persons (34%) born before 1950 had titers of 80 or more. Vaccination with seasonal trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines resulted in an increase in the level of cross-reactive antibody to 2009 H1N1 by a factor of four or more in none of 55 children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years, in 12 to 22% of 231 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years, and in 5% or less of 113 adults 60 years of age or older. Seasonal vaccines that were formulated with adjuvant did not further enhance cross-reactive antibody responses. Vaccination with the A/New Jersey/1976 swine influenza vaccine substantially boosted cross-reactive antibodies to 2009 H1N1 in adults. Vaccination with recent seasonal nonadjuvanted or adjuvanted influenza vaccines induced little or no cross-reactive antibody response to 2009 H1N1 in any age group. Persons under the age of 30 years had little evidence of cross-reactive antibodies to the pandemic virus. However, a proportion of older adults had preexisting cross-reactive antibodies. 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Maintenance of serological memory by polyclonal activation of human memory B cells.

            Production of antibodies can last for a lifetime, through mechanisms that remain poorly understood. Here, we show that human memory B lymphocytes proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells in response to polyclonal stimuli, such as bystander T cell help and CpG DNA. Furthermore, plasma cells secreting antibodies to recall antigens are produced in vivo at levels proportional to the frequency of specific memory B cells, even several years after antigenic stimulation. Although antigen boosting leads to a transient increase in specific antibody levels, ongoing polyclonal activation of memory B cells offers a means to maintain serological memory for a human lifetime.
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              Heterosubtypic neutralizing antibodies are produced by individuals immunized with a seasonal influenza vaccine.

              The target of neutralizing antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection is the viral protein HA. Genetic and antigenic variation in HA has been used to classify influenza viruses into subtypes (H1-H16). The neutralizing antibody response to influenza virus is thought to be specific for a few antigenically related isolates within a given subtype. However, while heterosubtypic antibodies capable of neutralizing multiple influenza virus subtypes have been recently isolated from phage display libraries, it is not known whether such antibodies are produced in the course of an immune response to influenza virus infection or vaccine. Here we report that, following vaccination with seasonal influenza vaccine containing H1 and H3 influenza virus subtypes, some individuals produce antibodies that cross-react with H5 HA. By immortalizing IgG-expressing B cells from 4 individuals, we isolated 20 heterosubtypic mAbs that bound and neutralized viruses belonging to several HA subtypes (H1, H2, H5, H6, and H9), including the pandemic A/California/07/09 H1N1 isolate. The mAbs used different VH genes and carried a high frequency of somatic mutations. With the exception of a mAb that bound to the HA globular head, all heterosubtypic mAbs bound to acid-sensitive epitopes in the HA stem region. Four mAbs were evaluated in vivo and protected mice from challenge with influenza viruses representative of different subtypes. These findings reveal that seasonal influenza vaccination can induce polyclonal heterosubtypic neutralizing antibodies that cross-react with the swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza virus and with the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Exp Med
                J. Exp. Med
                jem
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0022-1007
                1540-9538
                17 January 2011
                : 208
                : 1
                : 181-193
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Emory Vaccine Center , [2 ]Department of Microbiology and Immunology , [3 ]Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
                [4 ]Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center, School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Decatur, Georgia, 30030
                [5 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
                [6 ]Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
                [7 ]Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
                [8 ]Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, The Committee on Immunology, The Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637
                [9 ]Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY 10032
                [10 ]Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health and Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322
                [11 ]Laboratory of Viral Diseases , [12 ]Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD 20892
                Author notes
                CORRESPONDENCE Rafi Ahmed: rahmed@ 123456emory.edu OR Patrick C. Wilson: wilsonp@ 123456uchicago.edu
                Article
                20101352
                10.1084/jem.20101352
                3023136
                21220454
                © 2011 Wrammert et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

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