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1.  Fully Human Monoclonal Antibodies from Antibody Secreting Cells after Vaccination with Pneumovax®23 are Serotype Specific and Facilitate Opsonophagocytosis 
Immunobiology  2012;218(5):745-754.
B lymphocyte memory generates antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) that represent a source of protective antibodies that may be exploited for therapeutics. Here we vaccinated four donors with Pneumovax23 and produced human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) from ASCs. We have cloned 137 hmAbs and the specificities of these antibodies encompass 19 of the 23 serotypes in the vaccine, as well as cell wall polysaccharide (CWPS). Although the majority of the antibodies are serotype specific, 12% cross-react with two serotypes. The Pneumovax23 ASC antibody sequences are highly mutated and clonal, indicating an anamnestic response, even though this was a primary vaccination. Hmabs from 64% of the clonal families facilitate opsonophagocytosis. Although 9% of the total antibodies bind to CWPS impurity in the vaccine, none of these clonal families showed opsonophagocytic activity. Overall, these studies have allowed us to address unanswered questions in the field of human immune responses to polysaccharide vaccines, including the cross-reactivity of individual antibodies between serotypes and the percentage of antibodies that are protective after vaccination with Pneumovax23.
PMCID: PMC3556204  PMID: 23084371
Antibody secreting cells; B cell memory; human monoclonal antibodies; Pneumovax; Streptococcus pneumoniae
2.  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
3.  Global analysis of B cell selection using an immunoglobulin light chain–mediated model of autoreactivity 
The nature of the immunoglobulin light chain affects peripheral B cell tolerance and autoreactivity.
The important subtleties of B cell tolerance are best understood in a diverse immunoglobulin (Ig) repertoire context encoding a full spectrum of autoreactivity. To achieve this, we used mice expressing Igκ transgenes that confer varying degrees of autoreactivity within a diverse heavy chain (HC) repertoire. These transgenes, coupled with a biomarker to identify receptor-edited cells and combined with expression cloning of B cell receptors, allowed us to analyze tolerance throughout B cell development. We found that both the nature of the autoantigen and the Ig HC versus light chain (LC) contribution to autoreactivity dictate the developmental stage and mechanism of tolerance. Furthermore, although selection begins in the bone marrow, over one third of primary tolerance occurs in the periphery at the late transitional developmental stage. Notably, we demonstrate that the LC has profound effects on tolerance and can lead to exacerbated autoantibody production.
PMCID: PMC3549719  PMID: 23267014
4.  Antibody Pressure by a Human Monoclonal Antibody Targeting the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Virus Hemagglutinin Drives the Emergence of a Virus with Increased Virulence in Mice 
mBio  2012;3(3):e00120-12.
In 2009, a novel H1N1 influenza A virus (2009 pH1N1) emerged and caused a pandemic. A human monoclonal antibody (hMAb; EM4C04), highly specific for the 2009 pH1N1 virus hemagglutinin (HA), was isolated from a severely ill 2009 pH1N1 virus-infected patient. We postulated that under immune pressure with EM4C04, the 2009 pH1N1 virus would undergo antigenic drift and mutate at sites that would identify the antibody binding site. To do so, we infected MDCK cells in the presence of EM4C04 and generated 11 escape mutants, displaying 7 distinct amino acid substitutions in the HA. Six substitutions greatly reduced MAb binding (K123N, D131E, K133T, G134S, K157N, and G158E). Residues 131, 133, and 134 are contiguous with residues 157 and 158 in the globular domain structure and contribute to a novel pH1N1 antibody epitope. One mutation near the receptor binding site, S186P, increased the binding affinity of the HA to the receptor. 186P and 131E are present in the highly virulent 1918 virus HA and were recently identified as virulence determinants in a mouse-passaged pH1N1 virus. We found that pH1N1 escape variants expressing these substitutions enhanced replication and lethality in mice compared to wild-type 2009 pH1N1 virus. The increased virulence of these viruses was associated with an increased affinity for α2,3 sialic acid receptors. Our study demonstrates that antibody pressure by an hMAb targeting a novel epitope in the Sa region of 2009 pH1N1 HA is able to inadvertently drive the development of a more virulent virus with altered receptor binding properties. This broadens our understanding of antigenic drift.
Influenza viruses accumulate amino acid substitutions to evade the antibody response in a process known as antigenic drift, making it necessary to vaccinate against influenza annually. Mapping human monoclonal antibody (hMAb) epitopes is a necessary step towards understanding antigenic drift in humans. We defined the specificity of an hMAb that specifically targeted the 2009 pH1N1 virus and describe a novel epitope. In addition, we identified a previously unappreciated potential for antibody escape to enhance the pathogenicity of a virus. The escape mutation that we identified with in vitro immune pressure was independently reported by other investigators using in vivo selection in nonimmune mice. Although in vitro generation of escape mutants is unlikely to recapitulate antigenic drift in its entirety, the data demonstrate that pressure by a human monoclonal antibody targeting a novel epitope in the hemagglutinin of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus can inadvertently drive the development of escape mutants, of which a subset have increased virulence and altered receptor binding properties.
PMCID: PMC3372962  PMID: 22647789
6.  Limited efficacy of inactivated influenza vaccine in elderly individuals is associated with decreased production of vaccine-specific antibodies 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(8):3109-3119.
During seasonal influenza epidemics, disease burden is shouldered predominantly by the very young and the elderly. Elderly individuals are particularly affected, in part because vaccine efficacy wanes with age. This has been linked to a reduced ability to induce a robust serum antibody response. Here, we show that this is due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies, rather than a lack of antibody avidity or affinity. We measured levels of vaccine-specific plasmablasts by ELISPOT 1 week after immunization of young and elderly adults with inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine. Plasmablast-derived polyclonal antibodies (PPAbs) were generated from bulk-cultured B cells, while recombinant monoclonal antibodies (re-mAbs) were produced from single plasmablasts. The frequency of vaccine-specific plasmablasts and the concentration of PPAbs were lower in the elderly than in young adults, whereas the yields of secreted IgG per plasmablast were not different. Differences were not detected in the overall vaccine-specific avidity or affinity of PPAbs and re-mAbs between the 2 age groups. In contrast, reactivity of the antibodies induced by the inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine toward the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, which was not present in the vaccine, was higher in the elderly than in the young. These results indicate that the inferior antibody response to influenza vaccination in the elderly is primarily due to reduced quantities of vaccine-specific antibodies. They also suggest that exposure history affects the cross-reactivity of vaccination-induced antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3148747  PMID: 21785218
7.  Broadly cross-reactive antibodies dominate the human B cell response against 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus infection 
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3023136  PMID: 21220454
8.  Rapid generation of fully human monoclonal antibodies specific to a vaccinating antigen 
Nature protocols  2009;4(3):372-384.
We describe herein a protocol for the production of antigen-specific human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs). Antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) are isolated from whole blood collected 7 d after vaccination and sorted by flow cytometry into single cell plates. The antibody genes of the ASCs are then amplified by RT-PCR and nested PCR, cloned into expression vectors and transfected into a human cell line. The expressed antibodies can then be purified and assayed for binding and neutralization. This method uses established techniques but is novel in their combination and application. This protocol can be completed with as little as 20 ml of human blood and in as little as 28 d when optimal. Although previous methodologies to produce hmAbs, including B-cell immortalization or phage display, can be used to isolate the rare specific antibody even years after immunization, in comparison, these approaches are inefficient, resulting in few relevant antibodies. Although dependent on having an ongoing immune response, the approach described herein can be used to rapidly generate numerous antigen-specific hmAbs in a short time.
PMCID: PMC2750034  PMID: 19247287
9.  Functional anergy in a subpopulation of naive B cells from healthy humans that express autoreactive immunoglobulin receptors 
Self-reactive B cells not controlled by receptor editing or clonal deletion may become anergic. We report that fully mature human B cells negative for surface IgM and retaining only IgD are autoreactive and functionally attenuated (referred to as naive IgD+IgM− B cells [BND]). These BND cells typically make up 2.5% of B cells in the peripheral blood, have antibody variable region genes in germline (unmutated) configuration, and, by all current measures, are fully mature. Analysis of 95 recombinant antibodies expressed from the variable genes of single BND cells demonstrated that they are predominantly autoreactive, binding to HEp-2 cell antigens and DNA. Upon B cell receptor cross-linkage, BND cells have a reduced capacity to mobilize intracellular calcium or phosphorylate tyrosines, demonstrating that they are anergic. However, intense stimulation causes BND cells to fully respond, suggesting that these cells could be the precursors of autoantibody secreting plasma cells in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis. This is the first identification of a distinct mature human B cell subset that is naturally autoreactive and controlled by the tolerizing mechanism of functional anergy.
PMCID: PMC2626668  PMID: 19103878
Nature  2008;453(7195):667-671.
Pre-existing neutralizing antibody provides the first line of defense against pathogens in general. For influenza virus, annual vaccinations are given to maintain protective levels of antibody against the currently circulating strains. Here we report that after booster vaccination there was a rapid and robust influenza-specific IgG+ antibody-secreting plasma cell (ASC) response that peaked at approximately day 7 and accounted for up to 6% of peripheral blood B cells. These ASCs could be distinguished from influenza-specific IgG+ memory B cells that peaked 14 to 21 days after vaccination and averaged 1% of all B cells. Importantly, as much as 80% of ASCs purified at the peak of the response were influenza specific. This ASC response was characterized by a highly restricted B cell receptor (BCR) repertoire that in some donors were dominated by only a few B cell clones. This pauci-clonal response, however, showed extensive intraclonal diversification from accumulated somatic mutations. We used the immunoglobulin variable regions isolated from sorted single ASCs to produce over fifty human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that bound to the three influenza vaccine strains with high affinity. This strategy demonstrates that we can generate multiple high affinity mAbs from humans within a month after vaccination. The panel of influenza virus specific human mAbs allowed us to address the issue of original antigenic sin (OAS) - the phenomenon where the induced antibody shows higher affinity to a previously encountered influenza virus strain compared to the virus strain present in the vaccine1. However, we found that the vast majority of the influenza virus specific mAbs showed the highest affinity for the current vaccine strain. Thus, OAS does not seem to be a common occurrence in normal healthy adults receiving influenza vaccination.
PMCID: PMC2515609  PMID: 18449194
11.  Igκ allelic inclusion is a consequence of receptor editing 
The discovery of lymphocytes bearing two light chains in mice carrying self-reactive antibody transgenes has challenged the “one lymphocyte–one antibody” rule. However, the extent and nature of allelically included cells in normal mice is unknown. We show that 10% of mature B cells coexpress both Igκ alleles. These cells are not the result of failure in allelic exclusion per se, but arise through receptor editing. We find that under physiological conditions, editing occurs both by deletion and by inclusion with equal probability. In addition, we demonstrate that B lymphocytes carrying two B-cell receptors are recruited to germinal center reactions, and thus fully participate in humoral immune responses. Our data measure the scope of allelic inclusion and provide a mechanism whereby autoreactive B cells might “escape” central tolerance.
PMCID: PMC2118438  PMID: 17210730
12.  Mature B cells class switched to IgD are autoreactive in healthy individuals 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(6):1558-1565.
Determination of the origin and fate of autoreactive B cells is critical to understanding and treating autoimmune diseases. We report that, despite being derived from healthy people, antibodies from B cells that have class switched to IgD via genetic recombination (and thus become class switched to Cδ [Cδ-CS] cells) are highly reactive to self antigens. Over half of the antibodies from Cδ-CS B cells bind autoantigens on human epithelioma cell line 2 (HEp-2) cells or antinuclear antigens, and a quarter bind double-stranded DNA; both groups of antibodies are frequently polyreactive. Intriguingly, some Cδ-CS B cells have accumulated basic residues in the antibody variable regions that mediate anti-DNA reactivity via somatic hypermutation and selection, while other Cδ-CS B cells are naturally autoreactive. Though the total percentage was appreciably less than for Cδ-CS cells, a surprising 31% of IgG memory cell antibodies were somewhat autoreactive, and as expected, about 24% of naive cell antibodies were autoreactive. We interpret these findings to indicate either that autoreactive B cells can be induced to class switch to IgD or that autoreactive B cells that use IgD as the B cell receptor are not effectively deleted. Determination of the mechanism by which the majority of Cδ-CS B cells are autoreactive may be important in understanding peripheral tolerance mechanisms and may provide insight into the enigmatic function of the IgD antibody.
PMCID: PMC1866247  PMID: 17510706
13.  Intricate targeting of immunoglobulin somatic hypermutation maximizes the efficiency of affinity maturation 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2005;201(9):1467-1478.
It is believed that immunoglobulin-variable region gene (IgV) somatic hypermutation (SHM) is initiated by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) upon deamination of cytidine to deoxyuracil. Patch-excision repair of these lesions involving error prone DNA polymerases such as polη causes mutations at all base positions. If not repaired, the deaminated nucleotides on the coding and noncoding strands result in C-to-T and G-to-A exchanges, respectively. Herein it is reported that IgV gene evolution has been considerably influenced by the need to accommodate extensive C deaminations and the resulting accumulation of C-to-T and G-to-A exchanges. Although seemingly counterintuitive, the precise placement of C and G nucleotides causes most C-to-T and G-to-A mutations to be silent or conservative. We hypothesize that without intricate positioning of C and G nucleotides the efficiency of affinity maturation would be significantly reduced due to a dominance of replacements caused by C and G transition mutations. The complexity of these evolved biases in codon use are compounded by the precise concomitant hotspot/coldspot targeting of AID activity and Polη errors to maximize SHM in the CDRs and minimize mutations in the FWRs.
PMCID: PMC2213188  PMID: 15867095
14.  Human immunoglobulin selection associated with class switch and possible tolerogenic origins for Cδ class-switched B cells 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;113(8):1188-1201.
Current paradigms of peripheral B cell selection suggest that autoreactive B cells are controlled by clonal deletion, anergy, and developmental arrest. We report that changes to the human antibody repertoire likely resulting from these mechanisms both for a well-characterized autoreactivity from antibodies encoded by the VH4-34 gene and for other hallmarks of an autoreactive repertoire are apparent mainly for class-switched B cells and not for IgM germinal center, IgM memory, or IgM plasma cells. Other possible indicators of autoreactivity found selected with immunoglobulin class include JH6 gene segment usage, increased frequency of B cells with long third hypervariable regions, and distal Jκ gene segment bias. Of particular interest is the finding that B cells with these same characteristics are selected into the lineage of B cells that have undergone the unusual class switch from constant region Cμ to Cδ (Cδ-CS). The Cδ-CS population also displays an increased frequency of charged amino acids localized to the complementarity-determining regions, further suggesting autoreactivity, and evidence is presented that these B cells had undergone extensive receptor editing. Thus, the Cδ-CS lineage may be a “sink” for B cells harboring autoreactive specificities in normal humans. A model for a new tolerizing mechanism that could account for the Cδ-CS lineage is presented.
PMCID: PMC385404  PMID: 15085198
15.  Normal Host Defense during Systemic Candidiasis in Mannose Receptor-Deficient Mice  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(1):437-445.
Pathogen pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) recognize common structural and molecular motifs present on microbial surfaces and contribute to induction of innate immune responses. The mannose receptor (MR), a carbohydrate-binding receptor expressed on subsets of macrophages, is considered one such PRR. In vitro experiments have implicated the MR in phagocytosis of mannose-bearing microbes, including Candida albicans, and enhancement of antifungal response by macrophages. However, the significance of the MR's contribution to immune response during systemic C. albicans infection has never been directly demonstrated. Using MR-deficient mice in an in vivo infection experiment, we examined the role of the MR in immune response during disseminated candidiasis. MR−/− and wild-type control mice were challenged intraperitoneally with C. albicans, and the survival rates, tissue fungal burden, inflammatory cell recruitment, and specific antibody production after infection were evaluated. We found no significant difference in survival between the two mouse strains. MR−/− mice had higher average fungal burdens in some of the organs on days 7 and 21 but exhibited competence in inflammatory cell recruitment and antibody production. We also observed in vitro that MR−/− peritoneal cavity macrophages were equally capable of C. albicans uptake and that phagocytosis could be blocked with β-glucan. We conclude that the MR is not required for the normal host defense during disseminated candidiasis or for the phagocytosis of C. albicans and that a β-glucan receptor may be required for C. albicans phagocytosis.
PMCID: PMC143203  PMID: 12496194

Results 1-15 (15)