Structural and genetic basis for development of broadly neutralizing influenza antibodies.
ABSTRACT: Influenza viruses take a yearly toll on human life despite efforts to contain them with seasonal vaccines. These viruses evade human immunity through the evolution of variants that resist neutralization. The identification of antibodies that recognize invariant structures on the influenza haemagglutinin (HA) protein have invigorated efforts to develop universal influenza vaccines. Specifically, antibodies to the highly conserved stem region of HA neutralize diverse viral subtypes. These antibodies largely derive from a specific antibody gene, heavy-chain variable region IGHV1-69, after limited affinity maturation from their germline ancestors, but how HA stimulates naive B cells to mature and induce protective immunity is unknown. To address this question, we analysed the structural and genetic basis for their engagement and maturation into broadly neutralizing antibodies. Here we show that the germline-encoded precursors of these antibodies act as functional B-cell antigen receptors (BCRs) that initiate subsequent affinity maturation. Neither the germline precursor of a prototypic antibody, CR6261 (ref. 3), nor those of two other natural human IGHV1-69 antibodies, bound HA as soluble immunoglobulin-G (IgG). However, all three IGHV1-69 precursors engaged HA when the antibody was expressed as cell surface IgM. HA triggered BCR-associated tyrosine kinase signalling by germline transmembrane IgM. Recognition and virus neutralization was dependent solely on the heavy chain, and affinity maturation of CR6261 required only seven amino acids in the complementarity-determining region (CDR) H1 and framework region 3 (FR3) to restore full activity. These findings provide insight into the initial events that lead to the generation of broadly neutralizing antibodies to influenza, informing the rational design of vaccines to elicit such antibodies and providing a model relevant to other infectious diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS. The data further suggest that selected immunoglobulin genes recognize specific protein structural 'patterns' that provide a substrate for further affinity maturation.
Project description:An understanding of the antigen-specific B-cell response to the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) is critical to the development of universal influenza vaccines, but it has not been possible to examine these cells directly because HA binds to sialic acid (SA) on most cell types. Here, we use structure-based modification of HA to isolate HA-specific B cells by flow cytometry and characterize the features of HA stem antibodies (Abs) required for their development. Incorporation of a previously described mutation (Y98F) to the receptor binding site (RBS) causes HA to bind only those B cells that express HA-specific Abs, but it does not bind nonspecifically to B cells, and this mutation has no effect on the binding of broadly neutralizing Abs to the RBS. To test the specificity of the Y98F mutation, we first demonstrated that previously described HA nanoparticles mediate hemagglutination and then determined that the Y98F mutation eliminates this activity. Cloning of immunoglobulin genes from HA-specific B cells isolated from a single human subject demonstrates that vaccination with H5N1 influenza virus can elicit B cells expressing stem monoclonal Abs (MAbs). Although these MAbs originated mostly from the IGHV1-69 germ line, a reasonable proportion derived from other genes. Analysis of stem Abs provides insight into the maturation pathways of IGVH1-69-derived stem Abs. Furthermore, this analysis shows that multiple non-IGHV1-69 stem Abs with a similar neutralizing breadth develop after vaccination in humans, suggesting that the HA stem response can be elicited in individuals with non-stem-reactive IGHV1-69 alleles.Universal influenza vaccines would improve immune protection against infection and facilitate vaccine manufacturing and distribution. Flu vaccines stimulate B cells in the blood to produce antibodies that neutralize the virus. These antibodies target a protein on the surface of the virus called HA. Flu vaccines must be reformulated annually, because these antibodies are mostly specific to the viral strains used in the vaccine. But humans can produce broadly neutralizing antibodies. We sought to isolate B cells whose genes encode influenza virus antibodies from a patient vaccinated for avian influenza. To do so, we modified HA so it would bind only the desired cells. Sequencing the antibody genes of cells marked by this probe proved that the patient produced broadly neutralizing antibodies in response to the vaccine. Many sequences obtained had not been observed before. There are more ways to generate broadly neutralizing antibodies for influenza virus than previously thought.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein is the principal target of protective humoral immune responses to influenza virus infections but such antibody responses only provide efficient protection against a narrow spectrum of HA antigenic variants within a given virus subtype. Avian influenza viruses such as H5N1 are currently panzootic and pose a pandemic threat. These viruses are antigenically diverse and protective strategies need to cross protect against diverse viral clades. Furthermore, there are 16 different HA subtypes and no certainty the next pandemic will be caused by an H5 subtype, thus it is important to develop prophylactic and therapeutic interventions that provide heterosubtypic protection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Here we describe a panel of 13 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) recovered from combinatorial display libraries that were constructed from human IgM(+) memory B cells of recent (seasonal) influenza vaccinees. The mAbs have broad heterosubtypic neutralizing activity against antigenically diverse H1, H2, H5, H6, H8 and H9 influenza subtypes. Restriction to variable heavy chain gene IGHV1-69 in the high affinity mAb panel was associated with binding to a conserved hydrophobic pocket in the stem domain of HA. The most potent antibody (CR6261) was protective in mice when given before and after lethal H5N1 or H1N1 challenge. CONCLUSIONS: The human monoclonal CR6261 described in this study could be developed for use as a broad spectrum agent for prophylaxis or treatment of human or avian influenza infections without prior strain characterization. Moreover, the CR6261 epitope could be applied in targeted vaccine strategies or in the design of novel antivirals. Finally our approach of screening the IgM(+) memory repertoire could be applied to identify conserved and functionally relevant targets on other rapidly evolving pathogens.
Project description:Influenza virus presents an important and persistent threat to public health worldwide, and current vaccines provide immunity to viral isolates similar to the vaccine strain. High-affinity antibodies against a conserved epitope could provide immunity to the diverse influenza subtypes and protection against future pandemic viruses. Cocrystal structures were determined at 2.2 and 2.7 angstrom resolutions for broadly neutralizing human antibody CR6261 Fab in complexes with the major surface antigen (hemagglutinin, HA) from viruses responsible for the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic and a recent lethal case of H5N1 avian influenza. In contrast to other structurally characterized influenza antibodies, CR6261 recognizes a highly conserved helical region in the membrane-proximal stem of HA1 and HA2. The antibody neutralizes the virus by blocking conformational rearrangements associated with membrane fusion. The CR6261 epitope identified here should accelerate the design and implementation of improved vaccines that can elicit CR6261-like antibodies, as well as antibody-based therapies for the treatment of influenza.
Project description:Antibody paratopes are formed by hypervariable complementarity-determining regions (CDRH3s) and variable gene-encoded CDRs. The latter show biased usage in human broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against both HIV and influenza virus, suggesting the existence of gene-endowed targeting solutions that may be amenable to pathway amplification. To test this, we generated transgenic mice with human CDRH3 diversity but simultaneously constrained to individual user-defined human immunoglobulin variable heavy-chain (VH) genes, including IGHV1-69, which shows biased usage in human bnAbs targeting the hemagglutinin stalk of group 1 influenza A viruses. Sequential immunization with a stalk-only hemagglutinin nanoparticle elicited group 1 bnAbs, but only in IGHV1-69 mice. This VH-endowed response required minimal affinity maturation, was elicited alongside pre-existing influenza immunity, and when IGHV1-69 B cells were diluted to match the frequency measured in humans. These results indicate that the human repertoire could, in principle, support germline-encoded bnAb elicitation using a single recombinant hemagglutinin immunogen.
Project description:Antibodies display antigen-binding loops comprised of a hypervariable CDRH3 and V gene-encoded CDRs, where the latter may harbor gene-endowed or ‘public’ targeting solutions. To test this, we generated transgenic mice containing human CDRH3 diversity but simultaneously constrained to individual human immunoglobulin VH genes, including IGHV1-69, which shows biased usage in human broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) targeting the hemagglutinin stalk of Group 1 influenza A viruses. We then rank-ordered the VH-contribution to bnAb-epitope targeting following exposure to viral and nanoparticle displays of hemagglutinin. Notably, sequential immunization with a stalk-only hemagglutinin nanoparticle elicited Group 1 bnAbs, but only in IGHV1-69 constrained mice. This response required minimal affinity maturation, could be elicited under pre-existing influenza immunity, and when IGHV1-69 B cells were diluted to match the frequency measured in humans. Thus, encoded CDRs can naturally endow for specific antibody targets, and a rationally designed immunogen may elicit human influenza bnAbs through this principle. Overall design: Single cell and bulk BCR sequences from human IGHV1-69 restricted, human IGHV1-2 restricted, and WT C57BL/6 mice generated by deep sequencing using Illumina Miseq.
Project description:Because of significant viral diversity, vaccines that elicit durable and broad protection against influenza have been elusive. Recent research has focused on the potential of highly conserved regions of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) as targets for broadly neutralizing Ab responses. Abs that bind the highly conserved stem or stalk of HA can be elicited by vaccination in humans and animal models and neutralize diverse influenza strains. However, the frequency and phenotype of HA stem-specific B cells in vivo remain unclear. In this article, we characterize HA stem-specific B cell responses following H5N1 vaccination and describe the re-expansion of a pre-existing population of memory B cells specific for stem epitopes. This population uses primarily, but not exclusively, IGHV1-69-based Igs for HA recognition. However, within some subjects, allelic polymorphism at the ighv1-69 locus can limit IGHV1-69 immunodominance and may reduce circulating frequencies of stem-reactive B cells in vivo. The accurate definition of allelic selection, recombination requirements, and ontogeny of neutralizing Ab responses to influenza will aid rational influenza vaccine design.
Project description:Broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (bNAbs) against conserved domains in the influenza hemagglutinin are in clinical trials. Several next generation influenza vaccines designed to elicit such bNAbs are also in clinical development. One of the common features of the isolated bNAbs is the use of restricted IgVH repertoire. More than 80% of stem-targeting bNAbs express IgVH1-69, which may indicate genetic constraints on the evolution of such antibodies. In the current study, we evaluated a panel of influenza virus bNAbs in comparison with HIV-1 MAb 4E10 and anti-RSV MAb Palivizumab (approved for human use) for autoreactivity using 30 normal human tissues microarray and human protein (>9000) arrays. We found that several human bNAbs (CR6261, CR9114, and F2603) reacted with human tissues, especially with pituitary gland tissue. Importantly, protein array analysis identified high-affinity interaction of CR6261 with the autoantigen "Enhancer of mRNA decapping 3 homolog" (EDC3), which was not previously described. Moreover, EDC3 competed with hemagglutinin for binding to bNAb CR6261. These autoreactivity findings underscores the need for careful evaluation of such bNAbs for therapeutics and stem-based vaccines against influenza virus.
Project description:Most monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated from humans infected or vaccinated with the 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pdmH1N1) influenza virus targeted the hemagglutinin (HA) stem. These anti-HA stem mAbs mostly used IGHV1-69 and bound readily to epitopes on the conventional seasonal influenza and pdmH1N1 vaccines. The anti-HA stem mAbs neutralized pdmH1N1, seasonal influenza H1N1 and avian H5N1 influenza viruses by inhibiting HA-mediated fusion of membranes and protected against and treated heterologous lethal infections in mice with H5N1 influenza virus. This demonstrated that therapeutic mAbs could be generated a few months after the new virus emerged. Human immunization with the pdmH1N1 vaccine induced circulating antibodies that when passively transferred, protected mice from lethal, heterologous H5N1 influenza infections. We observed that the dominant heterosubtypic antibody response against the HA stem correlated with the relative absence of memory B cells against the HA head of pdmH1N1, thus enabling the rare heterosubtypic memory B cells induced by seasonal influenza and specific for conserved sites on the HA stem to compete for T-cell help. These results support the notion that broadly protective antibodies against influenza would be induced by successive vaccination with conventional influenza vaccines based on subtypes of HA in viruses not circulating in humans.
Project description:In 10-20% of the cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia of B-cell phenotype (B-CLL), the IGHV1-69 germline is utilized as VH gene of the B cell receptor (BCR). Mouse G6 (MuG6) is an anti-idiotypic monoclonal antibody discovered in a screen against rheumatoid factors (RFs) that binds with high affinity to an idiotope expressed on the 51p1 alleles of IGHV1-69 germline gene encoded antibodies (G6-id(+)). The finding that unmutated IGHV1-69 encoded BCRs are frequently expressed on B-CLL cells provides an opportunity for anti-idiotype monoclonal antibody immunotherapy. In this study, we first showed that MuG6 can deplete B cells encoding IGHV1-69 BCRs using a novel humanized GTL mouse model. Next, we humanized MuG6 and demonstrated that the humanized antibodies (HuG6s), especially HuG6.3, displayed ?2-fold higher binding affinity for G6-id(+) antibody compared to the parental MuG6. Additional studies showed that HuG6.3 was able to kill G6-id(+) BCR expressing cells and patient B-CLL cells through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). Finally, both MuG6 and HuG6.3 mediate in vivo depletion of B-CLL cells in NSG mice. These data suggest that HuG6.3 may provide a new precision medicine to selectively kill IGHV1-69-encoding G6-id(+) B-CLL cells.
Project description:IGHV polymorphism provides a rich source of humoral immune system diversity. One important example is the IGHV1-69 germline gene where the biased use of alleles that encode the critical CDR-H2 Phe54 (F-alleles) to make broadly neutralizing antibodies (HV1-69-sBnAb) to the influenza A hemagglutinin stem domain has been clearly established. However, whether IGHV1-69 polymorphism can also modulate B cell function and Ab repertoire expression through promoter and copy number (CN) variations has not been reported, nor has whether IGHV1-69 allelic distribution is impacted by ethnicity. Here we studied a cohort of NIH H5N1 vaccinees and demonstrate for the first time the influence of IGHV1-69 polymorphism on V-segment usage, somatic hypermutation and B cell expansion that elucidates the dominance of F-alleles in HV1-69-sBnAbs. We provide evidence that Phe54/Leu54 (F/L) polymorphism correlates with shifted repertoire usage of other IGHV germline genes. In addition, we analyzed ethnically diverse individuals within the 1000 genomes project and discovered marked variations in F- and L- genotypes and CN among the various ethnic groups that may impact HV1-69-sBnAb responses. These results have immediate implications for understanding HV1-69-sBnAb responses at the individual and population level and for the design and implementation of "universal" influenza vaccine.