First exposure to the pandemic H1N1 virus induced broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting hemagglutinin head epitopes

Jenna J. Guthmiller, Julianna Han, Lei Li, Alec W. Freyn, Sean T.H. Liu, Olivia Stovicek, Christopher T. Stamper, Haley L. Dugan, Micah E. Tepora, Henry A. Utset, Dalia J. Bitar, Natalie J. Hamel, Siriruk Changrob, Nai Ying Zheng, Min Huang, Florian Krammer, Raffael Nachbagauer, Peter Palese, Andrew B. Ward, Patrick C. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Broadly neutralizing antibodies are critical for protection against both drifted and shifted influenza viruses. Here, we reveal that first exposure to the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus recalls memory B cells that are specific to the conserved receptor-binding site (RBS) or lateral patch epitopes of the hemagglutinin (HA) head domain. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated against these epitopes are broadly neutralizing against H1N1 viruses spanning 40 years of viral evolution and provide potent protection in vivo. Lateral patch-targeting antibodies demonstrated near universal binding to H1 viruses, and RBS-binding antibodies commonly cross-reacted with H3N2 viruses and influenza B viruses. Lateral patch-targeting mAbs were restricted to expressing the variable heavy-chain gene VH3-23 with or without the variable kappa-chain gene VK1-33 and often had a Y-x-R motif within the heavy-chain complementarity determining region 3 to make key contacts with HA. Moreover, lateral patch antibodies that used both VH3-23 and VK1-33 maintained neutralizing capability with recent pH1N1 strains that acquired mutations near the lateral patch. RBS-binding mAbs used a diverse repertoire but targeted the RBS epitope similarly and made extensive contacts with the major antigenic site Sb. Together, our data indicate that RBS- and lateral patch-targeting clones are abundant within the human memory B cell pool, and universal vaccine strategies should aim to drive antibodies against both conserved head and stalk epitopes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabg4535
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number596
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'First exposure to the pandemic H1N1 virus induced broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting hemagglutinin head epitopes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this