Antibodies elicited in humans upon chimeric hemagglutinin-based influenza virus vaccination confer FcγR-dependent protection in vivo

Julia E. Edgar, Stephanie Trezise, Robert M. Anthony, Florian Krammer, Peter Palese, Jeffrey V. Ravetch, Stylianos Bournazos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Antibody responses against highly conserved epitopes on the stalk domain of influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) confer broad protection; however, such responses are limited. To effectively induce stalk-specific immunity against conserved HA epitopes, sequential immunization strategies have been developed based on chimeric HA (cHA) constructs featuring different head domains but the same stalk regions. Immunogenicity studies in small animal models, as well as in humans, revealed that cHA immunogens elicit stalk-specific IgG responses with broad specificity against heterologous influenza virus strains. However, the mechanisms by which these antibodies confer in vivo protection and the contribution of their Fc effector function remain unclear. To characterize the role of Fc-FcγR (Fcγ receptor) interactions to the in vivo protective activity of IgG antibodies elicited in participants in a phase I trial of a cHA vaccine candidate, we performed passive transfer studies of vaccine-elicited IgG antibodies in mice humanized for all classes of FcγRs, as well as in mice deficient for FcγRs. IgG antibodies elicited upon cHA vaccination completely protected FcγR humanized mice against lethal influenza virus challenge, while no protection was evident in FcγR-deficient mice, suggesting a major role for FcγR pathways in the protective function of vaccine-elicited IgG antibodies. These findings have important implications for influenza vaccine development, guiding the design of vaccination approaches with the capacity to elicit IgG responses with optimal Fc effector function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2314905120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume120
Issue number44
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

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