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1.  Defective T Memory Cell Differentiation after Varicella Zoster Vaccination in Older Individuals 
PLoS Pathogens  2016;12(10):e1005892.
Vaccination with attenuated live varicella zoster virus (VZV) can prevent zoster reactivation, but protection is incomplete especially in an older population. To decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying variable vaccine responses, T- and B-cell responses to VZV vaccination were examined in individuals of different ages including identical twin pairs. Contrary to the induction of VZV-specific antibodies, antigen-specific T cell responses were significantly influenced by inherited factors. Diminished generation of long-lived memory T cells in older individuals was mainly caused by increased T cell loss after the peak response while the expansion of antigen-specific T cells was not affected by age. Gene expression in activated CD4 T cells at the time of the peak response identified gene modules related to cell cycle regulation and DNA repair that correlated with the contraction phase of the T cell response and consequently the generation of long-lived memory cells. These data identify cell cycle regulatory mechanisms as targets to reduce T cell attrition in a vaccine response and to improve the generation of antigen-specific T cell memory, in particular in an older population.
Author Summary
Vaccination is one of the most successful medical interventions, but it loses its effectiveness in an older population that is of particular risk for infectious diseases. Shingles, caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, is a prime example. Nearly every second individual has experienced shingles by the age of 80 years, and the shingles vaccine is only partially protective. Attempts to improve the vaccine response are mostly empiric. Vaccinations induce a rapid expansion of antigen-specific T cells with frequencies peaking after one to two weeks. Most expanded T cells die after the peak response, and only few T cells survive to provide protection from infection or, as in case of shingles, from reactivation of latent viruses. Most vaccine studies have focused on the early stages of the response; how T cells are activated and expand. Surprisingly, in our study with the shingle vaccine, T cell survival after the peak response was the major factor determining memory T cell frequencies. T cell attrition was increased with age, independent of genetic predisposition. Using systems biology tools we found several pathways involved in T cell division and DNA repair that could be targeted to improve T cell survival and thereby increase the effectiveness of vaccination.
PMCID: PMC5072604  PMID: 27764254
2.  Mapping epitopes of U1-70K autoantibodies at single-amino acid resolution 
Autoimmunity  2015;48(8):513-523.
The mechanisms underlying development of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) autoantibodies are unclear. The U1-70K protein is the predominant target of RNP autoantibodies, and the RNA binding domain has been shown to be the immunodominant autoantigenic region of U1-70K, although the specific epitopes are not known. To precisely map U1-70K epitopes, we developed silicon-based peptide microarrays with >5700 features, corresponding to 843 unique peptides derived from the U1-70K protein. The microarrays feature overlapping peptides, with single-amino acid resolution in length and location, spanning amino acids 110–170 within the U1-70K RNA binding domain. We evaluated the serum IgG of a cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; n = 26) using the microarrays, and identified multiple reactive epitopes, including peptides 116–121 and 143–148. Indirect peptide ELISA analysis of the sera of patients with SLE (n = 88) revealed that ~14% of patients had serum IgG reactivity to 116–121, while reactivity to 143–148 appeared to be limited to a single patient. SLE patients with serum reactivity to 116–121 had significantly lower SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) scores at the time of sampling, compared to non-reactive patients. Minimal reactivity to the peptides was observed in the sera of healthy controls (n = 92). Competitive ELISA showed antibodies to 116–121 bind a common epitope in U1-70K (68–72) and the matrix protein M1 of human influenza B viruses. Institutional Review Boards approved this study. Knowledge of the precise epitopes of U1-70K autoantibodies may provide insight into the mechanisms of development of anti-RNP, identify potential clinical biomarkers and inform ongoing clinical trails of peptide-based therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC4815922  PMID: 26333287
Silicon-based peptide microarray; systemic lupus erythematosus; SLE; ribonucleoprotein; RNP
4.  Diversification of the antigen-specific T cell receptor repertoire after varicella zoster vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2016;8(332):332ra46.
Diversity and size of the antigen-specific T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire are two critical determinants for successful control of chronic infection. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) that establishes latency during childhood is able to escape control mechanisms, in particular with increasing age. We examined the TCR diversity of VZV-reactive CD4 T cells in individuals older than 50 years by studying three identical twin pairs and three unrelated individuals before and after vaccination with live attenuated VZV. While all individuals had a small number of dominant T cell clones, the breadth of the VZV-specific repertoire differed markedly. A genetic influence was seen for the sharing of individual TCR sequences from antigen-reactive cells, but not for repertoire richness or the selection of dominant clones. VZV vaccination favored the expansion of infrequent VZV antigen-reactive TCRs including those from naïve T cells with lesser boosting of dominant T cell clones. Thus, vaccination does not reinforce the in vivo selection occurred during chronic infection but leads to a diversification of the VZV-reactive T cell repertoire. However, a single booster immunization seems insufficient to establish new clonal dominance. Our results suggest that repertoire analysis of antigen-specific TCRs can be an important read-out to assess whether a vaccination was able to generate memory cells in clonal sizes that are necessary for immune protection.
PMCID: PMC4878824  PMID: 27030598
5.  Pregnancy Does Not Attenuate the Antibody or Plasmablast Response to Inactivated Influenza Vaccine 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2015;212(6):861-870.
Background. Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is recommended during pregnancy to prevent influenza infection and its complications in pregnant women and their infants. However, the extent to which pregnancy modifies the antibody response to vaccination remains unclear, and prior studies have focused primarily on hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) titers. A more comprehensive understanding of how pregnancy modifies the humoral immune response to influenza vaccination will aid in maximizing vaccine efficacy.
Methods. Healthy pregnant women and control women were studied prior to, 7 days after, and 28 days after vaccination with IIV. HI titers, microneutralization (MN) titers, and the frequency of circulating plasmablasts were evaluated in pregnant versus control women.
Results. Pregnant women and control women mount similarly robust serologic immune responses to IIV, with no significant differences for any influenza strain in postvaccination geometric mean HI or MN titers. HI and MN titers correlate, though MN titers demonstrate more robust changes pre- versus postvaccination. The induction of circulating plasmablasts is increased in pregnant women versus controls (median fold-change 2.60 vs 1.49 [interquartile range, 0.94–7.53 vs 0.63–2.67]; P = .03).
Conclusions. Pregnant women do not have impaired humoral immune responses to IIV and may have increased circulating plasmablast production compared to control women.
PMCID: PMC4548461  PMID: 25740957
hemagglutinin inhibition; influenza; plasmablast; pregnancy; vaccination; viral neutralization
6.  Lineage tracing of human B cells reveals the in vivo landscape of human antibody class switching 
eLife  null;5:e16578.
Antibody class switching is a feature of the adaptive immune system which enables diversification of the effector properties of antibodies. Even though class switching is essential for mounting a protective response to pathogens, the in vivo patterns and lineage characteristics of antibody class switching have remained uncharacterized in living humans. Here we comprehensively measured the landscape of antibody class switching in human adult twins using antibody repertoire sequencing. The map identifies how antibodies of every class are created and delineates a two-tiered hierarchy of class switch pathways. Using somatic hypermutations as a molecular clock, we discovered that closely related B cells often switch to the same class, but lose coherence as somatic mutations accumulate. Such correlations between closely related cells exist when purified B cells class switch in vitro, suggesting that class switch recombination is directed toward specific isotypes by a cell-autonomous imprinted state.
eLife digest
The human immune system comprises cells and processes that protect the body against infection and disease. B cells are immune cells that once activated produce antibodies, or proteins that help identify and neutralize infectious microbes and diseased host cells.
Antibodies fall into one of ten different classes, and each class has a different, specialized role. Certain antibody classes are responsible for eradicating viruses, while others recruit and help activate additional cells of the immune system.
B cells multiply quickly once they are activated. During this proliferation process, dividing B cells can switch from making one class of antibody to another. As such, a single activated B cell can yield a group of related B cells that produce distinct classes of antibodies. Although much has been learned about antibody class switching and its role in generating a diverse set of antibodies, the process of creating different antibody classes in humans remains unknown.
Horns, Vollmers et al. now reveal how antibodies of every class are created in living humans. By developing a way to reconstruct the B cell proliferation process and thereby trace the lineage of individual B cells, the occurrence of class switching events could be measured and mapped. This approach revealed that most antibodies are produced via a single dominant pathway that involves first switching through one of two antibody classes.
Horns, Vollmers et al. also determined that closely related B cells, which were recently born through division of a common ancestor, often switched to the same class. The shared fate is likely explained by the existence of similar conditions inside each cell, which are inherited during cell division and direct switching toward a particular class. All together, these new findings lay a foundation for developing techniques to direct antibody class switching in ways that support the immune system. Future work will aim to understand the conditions inside a cell that direct switching toward a particular class of antibody.
PMCID: PMC4970870  PMID: 27481325
antibody; class switching; repertoire; cell decisions; Human
7.  Causality Assessment of Serious Neurologic Adverse Events Following 2009 H1N1 Vaccination 
Vaccine  2011;29(46):8302-8308.
Adverse events occurring after vaccination are routinely reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). We studied serious adverse events (SAEs) of a neurologic nature reported after receipt of influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent vaccine during the 2009–10 influenza season. Investigators in the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network sought to characterize these SAEs and to assess their possible causal relationship to vaccination.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) physicians reviewed all SAE reports (as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations, 21CFR§314.80) after receipt of H1N1 vaccine reported to VAERS between October 1st 2009 and March 31st 2010. Non-fatal SAE reports with neurologic presentation were referred to CISA investigators, who requested and reviewed additional medical records and clinical information as available. CISA investigators assessed the causal relationship between vaccination and the event using modified WHO criteria as defined.
212 VAERS reports of non-fatal serious neurological events were referred for CISA review. Case reports were equally distributed by gender (50.9% female) with an age range of 6 months to 83 years (median 38 years). The most frequent diagnoses reviewed were: Guillain-Barré Syndrome (37.3%), seizures (10.8%), cranial neuropathy (5.7%), and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (3.8%). Causality assessment resulted in classification of 72 events as “possibly” related (33%), 108 as “unlikely” related (51%), and 20 as “unrelated” (9%) to H1N1 vaccination; none were classified as “probable” or “definite” and 12 were unclassifiable (6%).
The absence of a specific test to indicate whether a vaccine component contributes to the pathogenesis of an event occurring within a biologically plausible time period makes assessing causality difficult. The development of standardized protocols for providers to use in evaluation of adverse events following immunization, and rapid identification and follow-up of VAERS reports could improve causality assessment.
PMCID: PMC4860884  PMID: 21893148
Adverse event following immunization; H1N1 vaccine; Causality assessment
8.  Expression of CD39 on Activated T Cells Impairs their Survival in Older Individuals 
Cell reports  2016;14(5):1218-1231.
In an immune response, CD4+ T cells expand into effector T cells and then contract to survive as long-lived memory cells. To identify age-associated defects in memory cell formation, we profiled activated CD4+ T cells and found an increased induction of the ATPase CD39 with age. CD39+ CD4+ T cells resembled effector T cells with signs of metabolic stress and high susceptibility to undergo apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition of ATPase activity dampened effector cell differentiation and improved survival, suggesting that CD39 activity influences T cell fate. Individuals carrying a low-expressing CD39 variant responded better to vaccination with an increase in vaccine-specific memory T cells. Increased inducibility of CD39 after activation may contribute to the impaired vaccine response with age.
Graphical abstract
PMCID: PMC4851554  PMID: 26832412
9.  Distinct Patterns of B-Cell Activation and Priming by Natural Influenza Virus Infection Versus Inactivated Influenza Vaccination 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;211(7):1051-1059.
Background. The human B-cell response to natural influenza virus infection has not been extensively investigated at the polyclonal level.
Methods. The overall B-cell response of patients acutely infected with the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus (A[H1N1]pdm09) was analyzed by determining the reactivity of plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) to influenza proteins. Recipients of inactivated influenza vaccine containing the same A(H1N1)pdm09 strain were studied for comparison.
Results. During acute infection, robust plasmablast responses to the infecting virus were detected, characterized by a greater PPAb reactivity to the conserved influenza virus nuclear protein and to heterovariant and heterosubtypic hemagglutinins, in comparison to responses to the inactivated A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine. In A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccinees, the presence of baseline serum neutralizing antibodies against A(H1N1)pdm09, suggesting previous exposure to natural A(H1N1)pdm09 infection, did not affect the plasmablast response to vaccination, whereas repeated immunization with inactivated A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine resulted in significantly reduced vaccine-specific and cross-reactive PPAb responses.
Conclusions. Natural A(H1N1)pdm09 infection and inactivated A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccination result in very distinct patterns of B-cell activation and priming. These differences are likely to be associated with differences in protective immunity, especially cross-protection against heterovariant and heterosubtypic influenza virus strains.
PMCID: PMC4366605  PMID: 25336731
influenza virus infection; influenza vaccine; B-cell response; antibody; plasmablast
10.  Individual heritable differences result in unique cell lymphocyte receptor repertoires of naïve and antigen-experienced cells 
Nature Communications  2016;7:11112.
The adaptive immune system's capability to protect the body requires a highly diverse lymphocyte antigen receptor repertoire. However, the influence of individual genetic and epigenetic differences on these repertoires is not typically measured. By leveraging the unique characteristics of B, CD4+ T and CD8+ T-lymphocyte subsets from monozygotic twins, we quantify the impact of heritable factors on both the V(D)J recombination process and on thymic selection. We show that the resulting biases in both V(D)J usage and N/P addition lengths, which are found in naïve and antigen experienced cells, contribute to significant variation in the CDR3 region. Moreover, we show that the relative usage of V and J gene segments is chromosomally biased, with ∼1.5 times as many rearrangements originating from a single chromosome. These data refine our understanding of the heritable mechanisms affecting the repertoire, and show that biases are evident on a chromosome-wide level.
The diversity of antigen receptor specificities is largely generated by random recombination of its segments. Here the authors show, by genetic comparison of monozygotic twin lymphocyte subsets, that individual genetic and epigenetic biases also contribute to the shape of the B and T cell repertoires.
PMCID: PMC5191574  PMID: 27005435
11.  IgH sequences in common variable immune deficiency reveal altered B cell development and selection** 
Science translational medicine  2015;7(302):302ra135.
Common variable immune deficiency (CVID) is the most common symptomatic primary immune deficiency, affecting ∼1 in 25,000 persons. These patients suffer from impaired antibody responses, autoimmunity, and susceptibility to lymphoid cancers. To explore the cellular basis for these clinical phenotypes, we conducted high-throughput DNA sequencing of immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangements from 93 CVID patients and 105 control subjects and sorted naïve and memory B cells from 13 of the CVID patients and 10 of the control subjects. CVID patients showed abnormal VDJ rearrangement and abnormal formation of complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3). We observed decreased selection against antibodies with long CDR3 regions in memory repertoires and decreased V gene replacement, offering possible mechanisms for increased patient autoreactivity. Our data indicate that patient immunodeficiency might derive both from decreased diversity of the naïve B cell pool and decreased somatic hypermutation in memory repertoires. CVID patients also exhibited abnormal clonal expansion of unmutated B cells relative to controls. Although impaired B cell germinal center activation is commonly viewed as causative in CVID, these data indicate that CVID B cells diverge from controls as early as the pro-B cell stage and suggest possible explanations for the increased incidence of autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, and lymphoma CVID patients.
PMCID: PMC4584259  PMID: 26311730
12.  Variation in the human immune system is largely driven by non-heritable influences 
Cell  2015;160(0):37-47.
There is considerable heterogeneity in immunological parameters between individuals, but its sources are largely unknown. To assess the relative contribution of heritable versus non-heritable factors, we have performed a systems-level analysis of 210 healthy twins between 8–82 years of age. We measured 204 different parameters, including cell population frequencies, cytokine responses, and serum proteins, and found that 77% of these are dominated (> 50% of variance) and 58% almost completely determined (> 80% of variance) by non-heritable influences. In addition, some of these parameters become more variable with age, suggesting the cumulative influence of environmental exposure. Similarly, the serological responses to seasonal influenza vaccination are also determined largely by non-heritable factors, likely due to repeated exposure to different strains. Lastly, in MZ twins discordant for cytomegalovirus infection, over half of all parameters are affected. These results highlight the largely reactive and adaptive nature of the immune system in healthy individuals.
PMCID: PMC4302727  PMID: 25594173
13.  Immunogenicity, Safety and Consistency Of New Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine 
Vaccine  2008;26(32):4057-4061.
To augment the available influenza vaccine supply, a phase III study was conducted to evaluate the immunogenicity, safety, and consistency of a new trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine manufactured by CSL Limited. Healthy adults (ages 18–64) were randomized to receive either a single dose of TIV from multi-dose vials with thimerosal, TIV from pre-filled syringes without thimerosal, or placebo. Of the TIV recipients, 97.8% achieved a post-vaccination titer ≥ 40 against H1N1, 99.9% against H3N2 component, and 94.2% against influenza B. Few local or systemic adverse events were noted after vaccination with either TIV presentation. TIV was well tolerated and immunogenic.
PMCID: PMC2605420  PMID: 18602726
Influenza; vaccine; immunogenicity
14.  The Split Virus Influenza Vaccine rapidly activates immune cells through Fcγ Receptors 
Vaccine  2014;32(45):5989-5997.
Seasonal influenza vaccination is one of the most common medical procedures and yet the extent to which it activates the immune system beyond inducing antibody production is not well understood. In the United States, the most prevalent formulations of the vaccine consist of degraded or “split” viral particles distributed without any adjuvants. Based on previous reports we sought to determine whether the split influenza vaccine activates innate immune receptors—specifically Toll-like receptors. High-dimensional proteomic profiling of human whole-blood using Cytometry by Time-of-Flight (CyTOF) was used to compare signaling pathway activation and cytokine production between the split influenza vaccine and a prototypical TLR response ex vivo. This analysis revealed that the split vaccine rapidly and potently activates multiple immune cell types but yields a proteomic signature quite distinct from TLR activation. Importantly, vaccine induced activity was dependent upon the presence of human sera indicating that a serum factor was necessary for vaccine-dependent immune activation. We found this serum factor to be human antibodies specific for influenza proteins and therefore immediate immune activation by the split vaccine is immune-complex dependent. These studies demonstrate that influenza virus “splitting” inactivates any potential adjuvants endogenous to influenza, such as RNA, but in previously exposed individuals can elicit a potent immune response by facilitating the rapid formation of immune complexes.
PMCID: PMC4191649  PMID: 25203448
influenza; vaccine; Fcγ Receptors; immunology; mass cytometry
15.  Cytomegalovirus infection improves immune responses to influenza 
Science translational medicine  2015;7(281):281ra43.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a beta-herpes virus present in a latent form in most people worldwide. In immunosuppressed individuals, CMV can reactivate and cause serious clinical complications, but the effect of the latent state on healthy people remains elusive. We undertook a systems approach to understand the differences between seropositive and negative subjects and measured hundreds of immune system components from blood samples including cytokines and chemokines, immune cell phenotyping, gene expression, ex vivo cell responses to cytokine stimuli and the antibody response to seasonal influenza vaccination. As expected, we found decreased responses to vaccination and an overall down-regulation of immune components in aged individuals regardless of CMV serostatus. In contrast, CMV-infected young adults exhibited an overall up-regulation of immune components including enhanced antibody responses to influenza vaccination, increased CD8+ T cell sensitivity, and elevated levels of circulating IFN-γ compared to uninfected individuals. Experiments with young mice infected with murine CMV also showed significant protection from an influenza virus challenge compared with uninfected animals, although this effect declined with time. These data show that CMV and its murine equivalent can have a beneficial effect on the immune response of young, healthy individuals, which may explain the continued coexistence of CMV and mammals throughout their evolution.
PMCID: PMC4505610  PMID: 25834109
16.  Distinct Cross-reactive B-Cell Responses to Live Attenuated and Inactivated Influenza Vaccines 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;210(6):865-874.
Background. The immunological bases for the efficacies of the 2 currently licensed influenza vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) and inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), are not fully understood. The goal of this study was to identify specific B-cell responses correlated with the known efficacies of these 2 vaccines.
Methods. We compared the B-cell and antibody responses after immunization with 2010/2011 IIV or LAIV in young adults, focusing on peripheral plasmablasts 6–8 days after vaccination.
Results. The quantities of vaccine-specific plasmablasts and plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) in IIV recipients were significantly higher than those in LAIV recipients. No significant difference was detected in the avidity of vaccine-specific PPAbs between the 2 vaccine groups. Proportionally, LAIV induced a greater vaccine-specific immunoglobulin A plasmablast response, as well as a greater plasmablast response to the conserved influenza nuclear protein, than IIV. The cross-reactive plasmablast response to heterovariant strains, as indicated by the relative levels of cross-reactive plasmablasts and the cross-reactive PPAb binding reactivity, was also greater in the LAIV group.
Conclusions. Distinct quantitative and qualitative patterns of plasmablast responses were induced by LAIV and IIV in young adults; a proportionally greater cross-reactive response was induced by LAIV.
PMCID: PMC4200073  PMID: 24676204
influenza vaccine; B-cell response; antibody
17.  Human responses to influenza vaccination show seroconversion signatures and convergent antibody rearrangements 
Cell host & microbe  2014;16(1):105-114.
B cells produce a diverse antibody repertoire by undergoing gene rearrangements. Pathogen exposure induces the clonal expansion of B cells expressing antibodies that can bind the infectious agent. To assess human B cell responses to trivalent seasonal influenza and monovalent pandemic H1N1 vaccination, we sequenced gene rearrangements encoding the immunoglobulin heavy chain, a major determinant of epitope recognition. The magnitude of B cell clonal expansions correlates with an individual’s secreted antibody response to the vaccine and the expanded clones are enriched for those expressing influenza-specific mAbs. Additionally, B cell responses to pandemic influenza H1N1 vaccination and infection in different people show a prominent family of convergent antibody heavy chain gene rearrangements specific to influenza antigens. These results indicate that microbes can induce specific signatures of immunoglobulin gene rearrangements and that pathogen exposure can potentially be assessed from B cell repertoires.
PMCID: PMC4158033  PMID: 24981332
18.  Effects of aging, CMV infection, and EBV infection on human B cell repertoires 
Elderly humans show decreased humoral immunity to pathogens and vaccines, yet the effects of aging on B cells are not fully known. Chronic viral infection by cytomegalovirus (CMV) is implicated as a driver of clonal T cell proliferations in some aging humans, but whether CMV or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection contributes to alterations in the B cell repertoire with age is unclear. We have used high-throughput DNA sequencing of immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) gene rearrangements to study the B cell receptor repertoires over two successive years in 27 individuals ranging in age from 20 to 89 years. Some features of the B cell repertoire remain stable with age, but elderly subjects show increased numbers of B cells with long CDR3 regions, a trend toward accumulation of more highly mutated IgM and IgG immunoglobulin genes, and persistent clonal B cell populations in the blood. Seropositivity for CMV or EBV infection alters B cell repertoires, regardless of the individual's age: EBV infection correlates with the presence of persistent clonal B cell expansions, while CMV infection correlates with the proportion of highly mutated antibody genes. These findings isolate effects of aging from those of chronic viral infection on B cell repertoires, and provide a baseline for understanding human B cell responses to vaccination or infectious stimuli.
PMCID: PMC3947124  PMID: 24337376
19.  Randomized, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an adenovirus type 35-based circumsporozoite malaria vaccine in healthy adults 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(12):2548-2557.
Malaria results in over 650 000 deaths each year; thus, there is an urgent need for an effective vaccine. Pre-clinical studies and recently reported human trials suggest that pre-erythrocytic stage vaccines can provide protection against infection. A Phase 1, randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation study was conducted with a vaccine composed of a replication-deficient adenovirus-35 backbone with P. falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) surface antigen (Ad35.CS.01). Healthy adult subjects received three doses of 108, 109, 1010, or 1011 vp/mL Ad35.CS.01 vaccine or saline placebo intramuscularly at 0, 1, and 6-mo intervals. Adverse events were assessed and anti-CS antibody responses were determined by ELISA. Seventy-two individuals were enrolled, with age, gender, and ethnicity similar across each study arm. While the vaccine was generally well tolerated, adverse events were more frequent in the highest dose groups (1010 and 1011 vp/mL). More robust humoral responses were also noted at the highest doses, with 73% developing a positive ELISA response after the three dose series of 1011 vp/mL. The Ad35.CS.01 vaccine was most immunogenic at the highest dosages (1010 and 1011 vp/mL). Reactogenicity findings were more common after the 1011 vp/mL dose, although most were mild or moderate in nature and resolved without therapy.
PMCID: PMC4162066  PMID: 23955431
adenovirus; circumsporozoite; malaria; vaccine
20.  Genetic and environmental determinants of human NK cell diversity revealed by mass cytometry 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(208):208ra145.
Natural Killer (NK) cells play critical roles in immune defense and reproduction, yet remain the most poorly understood major lymphocyte population. Because their activation is controlled by a variety of combinatorially expressed activating and inhibitory receptors, NK cell diversity and function are closely linked. To provide an unprecedented understanding of NK cell repertoire diversity, we used mass cytometry to simultaneously analyze 35 parameters, including 28 NK cell receptors, on peripheral blood NK cells from five sets of monozygotic twins and twelve unrelated donors of defined HLA and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genotype. This analysis revealed a remarkable degree of NK cell diversity, with an estimated 6,000-30,000 phenotypic populations within an individual and >100,000 phenotypes in this population. Genetics largely determined inhibitory receptor expression, whereas activation receptor expression was heavily environmentally influenced. Therefore, NK cells may maintain self-tolerance through strictly regulated expression of inhibitory receptors, while using adaptable expression patterns of activating and costimulatory receptors to respond to pathogens and tumors. These findings further suggest the possibility that discrete NK cell subpopulations could be harnessed for immunotherapeutic strategies in the settings of infection, reproduction, and transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3918221  PMID: 24154599
22.  Heterovariant Cross-Reactive B-Cell Responses Induced by the 2009 Pandemic Influenza Virus A Subtype H1N1 Vaccine 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(2):288-296.
Background. The generation of heterovariant immunity is a highly desirable feature of influenza vaccines. The goal of this study was to compare the heterovariant B-cell response induced by the monovalent inactivated 2009 pandemic influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A[H1N1]pdm09) vaccine with that induced by the 2009 seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine (sTIV) containing a seasonal influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (A[H1N1]) component in young and elderly adults.
Methods. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAb) from young and elderly recipients of A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine or sTIV were tested for binding activity to various influenza antigens.
Results. In A(H1N1)pdm09 recipients, the PPAb titers against homotypic A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine were similar to those against the heterovariant seasonal A(H1N1) vaccine and were similar between young and elderly subjects. The PPAb avidity was higher among elderly individuals, compared with young individuals. In contrast, the young sTIV recipients had 10-fold lower heterovariant PPAb titers against the A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine than against the homotypic seasonal A(H1N1) vaccine. In binding assays with recombinant head and stalk domains of hemagglutinin, PPAb from the A(H1N1)pdm09 recipients but not PPAb from the sTIV recipients bound to the conserved stalk domain.
Conclusion. The A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine induced production of PPAb with heterovariant reactivity, including antibodies targeting the conserved hemagglutinin stalk domain.
PMCID: PMC3532823  PMID: 23107783
influenza; vaccine; antibody; cross-reactivity
23.  Immunogenicity and Safety of Varying Dosages of a Monovalent 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Given With and Without AS03 Adjuvant System in Healthy Adults and Older Persons 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(6):811-820.
Background. Adjuvanted vaccines have the potential to improve influenza pandemic response. AS03 adjuvant has been shown to enhance the immune response to inactivated influenza vaccines.
Methods. This trial was designed to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of an inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine at varying dosages of hemagglutinin with and without extemporaneously mixed AS03 adjuvant system in adults ≥18 years of age. Adults were randomized to receive 2 doses of 1 of 5 vaccine formulations (3.75 µg, 7.5 µg, or 15 µg with AS03 or 7.5 µg or 15 µg without adjuvant).
Results. The study population included 544 persons <65 years of age and 245 persons ≥65 years of age. Local adverse events tended to be more frequent in the adjuvanted vaccine groups, but severe reactions were uncommon. In both age groups, hemagglutination inhibition antibody geometric mean titers after dose one were higher in the adjuvanted groups, compared with the 15 µg unadjuvanted group, and this difference was statistically significant for the comparison of the 15 µg adjuvanted group with the 15 µg unadjuvanted group.
Conclusions. AS03 adjuvant system improves the immune response to inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in both younger and older adults and is generally well tolerated. NCT00963157
PMCID: PMC3501151  PMID: 22782949
24.  Lineage Structure of the Human Antibody Repertoire in Response to Influenza Vaccination 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(171):171ra19.
The human antibody repertoire is one of the most important defenses against infectious disease, and the development of vaccines has enabled the conferral of targeted protection to specific pathogens. However, there are many challenges to measuring and analyzing the immunoglobulin sequence repertoire, such as the fact that each B cell contains a distinct antibody sequence encoded in its genome, that the antibody repertoire is not constant but changes over time, and the high similarity between antibody sequences. We have addressed this challenge by using high-throughput long read sequencing to perform immunogenomic characterization of expressed human antibody repertoires in the context of influenza vaccination. Informatic analysis of 5 million antibody heavy chain sequences from healthy individuals allowed us to perform global characterizations of isotype distributions, determine the lineage structure of the repertoire and measure age and antigen related mutational activity. Our analysis of the clonal structure and mutational distribution of individuals’ repertoires shows that elderly subjects have a decreased number of lineages but an increased pre-vaccination mutation load in their repertoire and that some of these subjects have an oligoclonal character to their repertoire in which the diversity of the lineages is greatly reduced relative to younger subjects. We have thus shown that global analysis of the immune system’s clonal structure provides direct insight into the effects of vaccination and provides a detailed molecular portrait of age-related effects.
PMCID: PMC3699344  PMID: 23390249

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