Broad and protective influenza B virus neuraminidase antibodies in humans after vaccination and their clonal persistence as plasma cells

Academic Article


  • Although most seasonal inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV) contain neuraminidase (NA), the extent and mechanisms of action of protective human NA-specific humoral responses induced by vaccination are poorly resolved. Due to the propensity of influenza virus for antigenic drift and shift and its tendency to elicit predominantly strain-specific antibodies, humanity remains susceptible to waves of new strains of seasonal viruses and is at risk from viruses with pandemic potential for which limited or no immunity may exist. Here we demonstrate that the use of IIV results in increased levels of influenza B virus (IBV) NA-specific serum antibodies. De-tailed analysis of the IBV NA B cell response indicates concurrent expansion of IBV NA-specific peripheral blood plasmablasts 7 days after IIV immunization which express monoclonal antibodies with broad and potent antiviral activity against both IBV Victoria and Yamagata lineages and prophylactic and therapeutic activity in mice. These IBV NA-specific B cell clonal lineages persisted in CD138+ long-lived bone marrow plasma cells. These results represent the first demonstration that IIV-induced NA human antibodies can protect and treat influenza virus infection in vivo and suggest that IIV can induce a subset of IBV NA-specific B cells with broad protective potential, a feature that warrants further study for universal influenza vaccine development. IMPORTANCE Influenza virus infections continue to cause substantial morbidity and mortality despite the availability of seasonal vaccines. The extensive genetic variability in seasonal and potentially pandemic influenza strains necessitates new vaccine strategies that can induce universal protection by focusing the immune response on generating protective antibodies against conserved targets such as regions within the influenza neuraminidase protein. We have demonstrated that seasonal immunization stimulates neuraminidase-specific antibodies in humans that are broad and potent in their protection from influenza B virus when tested in mice. These antibodies further persist in the bone marrow, where they are expressed by long-lived antibody-producing cells, referred to here as plasma cells. The significance in our research is the demonstration that seasonal influenza immunization can induce a subset of neuraminidase-specific B cells with broad protective potential, a process that if further studied and enhanced could aid in the development of a universal influenza vaccine.
  • Published In

  • mBio  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Piepenbrink MS; Nogales A; Basu M; Fucile CF; Liesveld JL; Keefer MC; Rosenberg AF; Martinez-Sobrido L; Kobie JJ
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 17
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 2