The effect of antibodies on the immune response to influenza virus
Research area: Immune Regulation
Group leaders: Antonio Lanzavecchia
Status: In progress
We are interested to understand how passively administered antibodies affect the T and B cell response to vaccines or infectious agents as it occurs following serotherapy or following transfer of maternal antibodies in newborns. We are therefore characterizing the immune response of mice infected with influenza A virus PR8 in the absence or in the presence of passively administered monoclonal antibodies specific for different regions of the HA molecule. We are following the B cell response and the development of memory cells using a clonal assay to dissect the fine specificity and crossreactivity of the antibodies produced. Preliminary results indicate that passively administered neutralizing antibody can protect from clinical pathology without compromising the total neutralizing antibody response to the virus. We will also establish whether the passively administered antibody can modulate the T cell response, for instance by targeting antigen to dendritic cells and modifying its processing, and whether this effect may in turn influence the ability of those cells to interact with antigen specific B cells. We are also attempting to identify priming conditions or modified antigens that would elicit heterosubtypic antibody responses. To achieve this ambitious goal we are considering both prime boost immunization as well as the design of modified HA molecules.