The Francis Crick Institute
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Imprinted anti-hemagglutinin and anti-neuraminidase antibody responses after childhood infections of A(H1N1) and A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza viruses.

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-29, 09:21 authored by Pavithra Daulagala, Brian R Mann, Kathy Leung, Eric HY Lau, Louise Yung, Ruipeng Lei, Sarea IN Nizami, Joseph T Wu, Susan S Chiu, Rodney S Daniels, Nicholas C Wu, David Wentworth, Malik Peiris, Hui-Ling Yen
Immune imprinting is a driver known to shape the anti-hemagglutinin (HA) antibody landscape of individuals born within the same birth cohort. With the HA and neuraminidase (NA) proteins evolving at different rates under immune selection pressures, anti-HA and anti-NA antibody responses since childhood influenza virus infections have not been evaluated in parallel at the individual level. This is partly due to the limited knowledge of changes in NA antigenicity, as seasonal influenza vaccines have focused on generating neutralizing anti-HA antibodies against HA antigenic variants. Here, we systematically characterized the NA antigenic variants of seasonal A(H1N1) viruses from 1977 to 1991 and completed the antigenic profile of N1 NAs from 1977 to 2015. We identified that NA proteins of A/USSR/90/77, A/Singapore/06/86, and A/Texas/36/91 were antigenically distinct and mapped N386K as a key determinant of the NA antigenic change from A/USSR/90/77 to A/Singapore/06/86. With comprehensive panels of HA and NA antigenic variants of A(H1N1) and A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, we determined hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) and neuraminidase inhibition (NI) antibodies from 130 subjects born between 1950 and 2015. Age-dependent imprinting was observed for both anti-HA and anti-NA antibodies, with the peak HI and NI titers predominantly detected from subjects at 4 to 12 years old during the year of initial virus isolation, except the age-independent anti-HA antibody response against A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses. More participants possessed antibodies that reacted to multiple antigenically distinct NA proteins than those with antibodies that reacted to multiple antigenically distinct HA proteins. Our results support the need to include NA proteins in seasonal influenza vaccine preparations. IMPORTANCE Seasonal influenza vaccines have aimed to generate neutralizing anti-HA antibodies for protection since licensure. More recently, anti-NA antibodies have been established as an additional correlate of protection. While HA and NA antigenic changes occurred discordantly, the anti-HA and anti-NA antibody profiles have rarely been analyzed in parallel at the individual level, due to the limited knowledge on NA antigenic changes. By characterizing NA antigenic changes of A(H1N1) viruses, we determined the anti-HA and anti-NA antibody landscape against antigenically distinct A(H1N1) and A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses using sera of 130 subjects born between 1950 and 2015. We observed age-dependent imprinting of both anti-HA and anti-NA antibodies against strains circulated during the first decade of life. A total of 67.7% (88/130) and 90% (117/130) of participants developed cross-reactive antibodies to multiple HA and NA antigens at titers ≥1:40. With slower NA antigenic changes and cross-reactive anti-NA antibody responses, including NA protein in influenza vaccine preparation may enhance vaccine efficacy.