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J Virol. 2015 Nov 11;90(2):1116-28. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02372-15. Print 2016 Jan 15.

Sequential Infection in Ferrets with Antigenically Distinct Seasonal H1N1 Influenza Viruses Boosts Hemagglutinin Stalk-Specific Antibodies.

Author information

1
Center for Vaccines and Immunology, Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA; Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, Port Saint Lucie, Florida, USA.
2
Center for Vaccines and Immunology, Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA; Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, Port Saint Lucie, Florida, USA tedross@uga.edu.

Abstract

Broadly reactive antibodies targeting the conserved hemagglutinin (HA) stalk region are elicited following sequential infection or vaccination with influenza viruses belonging to divergent subtypes and/or expressing antigenically distinct HA globular head domains. Here, we demonstrate, through the use of novel chimeric HA proteins and competitive binding assays, that sequential infection of ferrets with antigenically distinct seasonal H1N1 (sH1N1) influenza virus isolates induced an HA stalk-specific antibody response. Additionally, stalk-specific antibody titers were boosted following sequential infection with antigenically distinct sH1N1 isolates in spite of preexisting, cross-reactive, HA-specific antibody titers. Despite a decline in stalk-specific serum antibody titers, sequential sH1N1 influenza virus-infected ferrets were protected from challenge with a novel H1N1 influenza virus (A/California/07/2009), and these ferrets poorly transmitted the virus to naive contacts. Collectively, these findings indicate that HA stalk-specific antibodies are commonly elicited in ferrets following sequential infection with antigenically distinct sH1N1 influenza virus isolates lacking HA receptor-binding site cross-reactivity and can protect ferrets against a pathogenic novel H1N1 virus.

IMPORTANCE:

The influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) is a major target of the humoral immune response following infection and/or seasonal vaccination. While antibodies targeting the receptor-binding pocket of HA possess strong neutralization capacities, these antibodies are largely strain specific and do not confer protection against antigenic drift variant or novel HA subtype-expressing viruses. In contrast, antibodies targeting the conserved stalk region of HA exhibit broader reactivity among viruses within and among influenza virus subtypes. Here, we show that sequential infection of ferrets with antigenically distinct seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses boosts the antibody responses directed at the HA stalk region. Moreover, ferrets possessing HA stalk-specific antibody were protected against novel H1N1 virus infection and did not transmit the virus to naive contacts.

PMID:
26559834
PMCID:
PMC4702689
DOI:
10.1128/JVI.02372-15
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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