Affinity maturation in a human humoral response to influenza hemagglutinin.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2019)


<p>Affinity maturation of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) is a conserved and crucial component of the adaptive immune response. BCR lineages, inferred from paired heavy- and light-chain sequences of rearranged Ig genes from multiple descendants of the same naive B cell precursor (the lineages&#39; unmutated common ancestor, &quot;UCA&quot;), make it possible to reconstruct the underlying somatic evolutionary history. We present here an extensive structural and biophysical analysis of a lineage of BCRs directed against the receptor binding site (RBS) of subtype H1 influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA). The lineage includes 8 antibodies detected directly by sequencing, 3 in 1 principal branch and 5 in the other. When bound to HA, the heavy-chain third complementarity determining region (HCDR3) fits with an invariant pose into the RBS, but in each of the 2 branches, the rest of the Fab reorients specifically, from its position in the HA-bound UCA, about a hinge at the base of HCDR3. New contacts generated by the reorientation compensate for contacts lost as the H1 HA mutated during the time between the donor&#39;s initial exposure and the vaccination that preceded sampling. Our data indicate that a &quot;pluripotent&quot; naive response differentiated, in each branch, into 1 of its possible alternatives. This property of naive BCRs and persistence of multiple branches of their progeny lineages can offer broader protection from evolving pathogens than can a single, linear pathway of somatic mutation.</p>

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