Defining and Manipulating B Cell Immunodominance Hierarchies to Elicit Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Responses against Influenza Virus

A Amitai and M Sangesland and RM Barnes and D Rohrer and N Lonberg and D Lingwood and AK Chakraborty, CELL SYSTEMS, 11, 573-+ (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2020.09.005

The antibody repertoire possesses near-limitless diversity, enabling the adaptive immune system to accommodate essentially any antigen. However, this diversity explores the antigenic space unequally, allowing some pathogens like influenza virus to impose complex immunodominance hierarchies that distract antibody responses away from key sites of virus vulnerability. We developed a computational model of affinity maturation to map the patterns of immunodominance that evolve upon immunization with natural and engineered displays of hemagglutinin (HA), the influenza vaccine antigen. Based on this knowledge, we designed immunization protocols that subvert immune distraction and focus serum antibody responses upon a functionally conserved, but immunologically recessive, target of human broadly neutralizing antibodies. We tested in silico predictions by vaccinating transgenic mice in which antibody diversity was humanized to mirror clinically relevant humoral output. Collectively, our results demonstrate that complex patterns in antibody immunogenicity can be rationally defined and then manipulated to elicit engineered immunity.

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