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J Infect Dis. 2017 Dec 27;217(1):3-11. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix546.

Primary Human Influenza B Virus Infection Induces Cross-Lineage Hemagglutinin Stalk-Specific Antibodies Mediating Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytoxicity.

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Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Center for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.


Influenza A virus (IAV) and influenza B virus (IBV) cause substantial morbidity and mortality during annual epidemics. Two distinct lineages of IBV are distinguished, based on variation in hemagglutinin (HA): B/Victoria/2/87-like (B/Vic) and B/Yamagata/16/88-like (B/Yam). Here, we show that, in humans, primary IBV infection with either lineage induces HA-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-mediating antibodies. IBV infection induced antibodies specific to the HA head and stalk, but only HA stalk-specific antibodies mediated ADCC efficiently and displayed cross-reactivity with IBV of both lineages. This corresponds to recent findings that 2 points of contact between the effector and target cell (ie, HA and sialic acid, respectively, and the fragment crystallizable [Fc] domain and Fcγ receptor IIIα, respectively) are required for efficient ADCC activity and that antibodies specific for the receptor-binding site located in the head domain of HA therefore fail to mediate ADCC. Potentially, ADCC-mediating antibodies directed to the HA stalk of IBV contribute to cross-protective immunity to IBV of both lineages.


Influenza B virus; antibodies; antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity; hemagglutinin; natural killer cells

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