Jonathan Yewdell, NIAID
Coming to Grips with Flu Drift
Influenza A virus (IAV) imposes a significant socio-economic burden on humanity, killing hundreds of thousands, and costing tens of billions of dollars worldwide each year. Vaccination, the best hope for reducing the impact of influenza, is effective in only 60% of individuals even under optimal circumstances. The difficulty stems from the remarkable ability of influenza A virus (IAV) to evade existing immunity. To address antibody response questions, my laboratory has developed a unique panel of viruses that allows us to quantitate mouse anti-HA Ab and germinal center B cell responses at the level of individual antigenic sites. Our findings show that B cell responses demonstrate a characteristic immunodominance hierarchy that changes dynamically among the sites as as the response progresses, and is influenced in a complex manner by many of the variables listed above. I will also present recent analysis from my lab demonstrating the remarkable clock like addition of glycans to the HA head that forms the basis for several simple rules that appear to govern glycan addition.