Ph.D., ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Human Immunology (2021)
Bali Pulendran, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Multi-omics analysis of mucosal and systemic immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after birth.
The dynamics of immunity to infection in infants remain obscure. Here, we used a multi-omics approach to perform a longitudinal analysis of immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in infants and young children by analyzing blood samples and weekly nasal swabs collected before, during, and after infection with Omicron and non-Omicron variants. Infection stimulated robust antibody titers that, unlike in adults, showed no sign of decay for up to 300 days. Infants mounted a robust mucosal immune response characterized by inflammatory cytokines, interferon (IFN) α, and T helper (Th) 17 and neutrophil markers (interleukin [IL]-17, IL-8, and CXCL1). The immune response in blood was characterized by upregulation of activation markers on innate cells, no inflammatory cytokines, but several chemokines and IFNα. The latter correlated with viral load and expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in myeloid cells measured by single-cell multi-omics. Together, these data provide a snapshot of immunity to infection during the initial weeks and months of life.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2023.08.044
View details for PubMedID 37776858
Broadly neutralizing antibodies against sarbecoviruses generated by immunization of macaques with an AS03-adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine.
Science translational medicine
2023; 15 (695): eadg7404
The rapid emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that evade immunity elicited by vaccination has placed an imperative on the development of countermeasures that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses. Here, we identified extremely potent monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralized multiple sarbecoviruses from macaques vaccinated with AS03-adjuvanted monovalent subunit vaccines. Longitudinal analysis revealed progressive accumulation of somatic mutation in the immunoglobulin genes of antigen-specific memory B cells (MBCs) for at least 1 year after primary vaccination. Antibodies generated from these antigen-specific MBCs at 5 to 12 months after vaccination displayed greater potency and breadth relative to those identified at 1.4 months. Fifteen of the 338 (about 4.4%) antibodies isolated at 1.4 to 6 months after the primary vaccination showed potency against SARS-CoV-2 BA.1, despite the absence of serum BA.1 neutralization. 25F9 and 20A7 neutralized authentic clade 1 sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV, WIV-1, SHC014, SARS-CoV-2 D614G, BA.1, and Pangolin-GD) and vesicular stomatitis virus-pseudotyped clade 3 sarbecoviruses (BtKY72 and PRD-0038). 20A7 and 27A12 showed potent neutralization against all SARS-CoV-2 variants and multiple Omicron sublineages, including BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4/5, BQ.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB. Crystallography studies revealed the molecular basis of broad and potent neutralization through targeting conserved sites within the RBD. Prophylactic protection of 25F9, 20A7, and 27A12 was confirmed in mice, and administration of 25F9 particularly provided complete protection against SARS-CoV-2, BA.1, SARS-CoV, and SHC014 challenge. These data underscore the extremely potent and broad activity of these mAbs against sarbecoviruses.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.adg7404
View details for PubMedID 37163615
A ferritin-based COVID-19 nanoparticle vaccine that elicits robust, durable, broad-spectrum neutralizing antisera in non-human primates.
2023; 14 (1): 2149
While the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific triumph, the need remains for a globally available vaccine that provides longer-lasting immunity against present and future SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). Here, we describe DCFHP, a ferritin-based, protein-nanoparticle vaccine candidate that, when formulated with aluminum hydroxide as the sole adjuvant (DCFHP-alum), elicits potent and durable neutralizing antisera in non-human primates against known VOCs, including Omicron BQ.1, as well as against SARS-CoV-1. Following a booster ~one year after the initial immunization, DCFHP-alum elicits a robust anamnestic response. To enable global accessibility, we generated a cell line that can enable production of thousands of vaccine doses per liter of cell culture and show that DCFHP-alum maintains potency for at least 14 days at temperatures exceeding standard room temperature. DCFHP-alum has potential as a once-yearly (or less frequent) booster vaccine, and as a primary vaccine for pediatric use including in infants.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-37417-9
View details for PubMedID 37069151
View details for PubMedCentralID 9225255
Durability of immune responses to the booster mRNA vaccination against COVID-19.
The Journal of clinical investigation
Maintaining durable immunity to vaccination represents a major challenge, but whether booster mRNA vaccination improves durability is unknown.We measured antibody responses in 55 healthy adults who received a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and calculated the half-life of antibody titers. We also measured memory B and T cell responses in a subset of 28 participants. In 13 volunteers who received a second booster, we measured serum antibody titers, and memory B and T cell responses.The booster (3rd immunization) dose at 6 - 10 months increased the half-life of serum neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers to 76 days from 56 - 66 days after the primary two-dose vaccination. A second booster dose (4th immunization) a year after the primary vaccination increased the half-life further to 88 days. However, despite this modestly improved durability in nAb responses against the ancestral (WA.1) strain, there was a loss in neutralization capacity against Omicron subvariants BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1.5 (48, 71, and 66-fold drop in titers respectively, relative to the WA.1 strain). While only 45 - 65% of participants demonstrated a detectable nAb titer against the newer variants after the booster (3rd dose), the response declined to below the detection limit in almost all individuals by 6 months. In contrast, booster vaccination induced antigen-specific memory B and T cells that persisted for at least 6 months.The durability of serum antibody responses improves only marginally following booster immunizations with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI167955
View details for PubMedID 36951954
Systems biological assessment of the temporal dynamics of immunity to a viral infection in the first weeks and months of life.
medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences
The dynamics of innate and adaptive immunity to infection in infants remain obscure. Here, we used a multi-omics approach to perform a longitudinal analysis of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection in infants and young children in the first weeks and months of life by analyzing blood samples collected before, during, and after infection with Omicron and Non-Omicron variants. Infection stimulated robust antibody titers that, unlike in adults, were stably maintained for >300 days. Antigen-specific memory B cell (MCB) responses were durable for 150 days but waned thereafter. Somatic hypermutation of V-genes in MCB accumulated progressively over 9 months. The innate response was characterized by upregulation of activation markers on blood innate cells, and a plasma cytokine profile distinct from that seen in adults, with no inflammatory cytokines, but an early and transient accumulation of chemokines (CXCL10, IL8, IL-18R1, CSF-1, CX3CL1), and type I IFN. The latter was strongly correlated with viral load, and expression of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in myeloid cells measured by single-cell transcriptomics. Consistent with this, single-cell ATAC-seq revealed enhanced accessibility of chromatic loci targeted by interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) and reduced accessibility of AP-1 targeted loci, as well as traces of epigenetic imprinting in monocytes, during convalescence. Together, these data provide the first snapshot of immunity to infection during the initial weeks and months of life.
View details for DOI 10.1101/2023.01.28.23285133
View details for PubMedID 36778389
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9915811
Extremely potent pan-sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies generated by immunization of macaques with an AS03-adjuvanted monovalent subunit vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology
The rapid emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that evade immunity to vaccination has placed a global health imperative on the development of therapeutic countermeasures that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses. Here, we identified extremely potent pan-sarbecovirus antibodies from non-human primates vaccinated with an AS03 adjuvanted subunit vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that recognize conserved epitopes in the receptor binding domain (RBD) with femtomolar affinities. Longitudinal analysis revealed progressive accumulation of somatic mutation in the immunoglobulin genes of antigen-specific memory B cells for at least one year following primary vaccination. 514 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were generated from antigen-specific memory B cells. Antibodies isolated at 5 to 12 months following vaccination displayed greater potency and breadth, relative to those identified at 1.4 months. Notably, 15 out of 338 (∼4.4%) antibodies isolated at 1.4∼6 months after the primary vaccination showed extraordinary neutralization potency against SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.1, despite the absence of BA.1 neutralization in serum. Two of them, 25F9 and 20A7, neutralized authentic clade Ia sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV, WIV-1, SHC014) and clade Ib sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV-2 D614G, SARS-CoV-2 BA.1, Pangolin-GD) with half-maximal inhibition concentrations of (0.85 ng/ml, 3 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 42 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml) and (13 ng/ml, 2 ng/ml, 18 ng/ml, 9 ng/ml, 6 ng/ml, 345 ng/ml), respectively. Furthermore, 20A7 and 27A12 showed potent neutralization against all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and multiple Omicron sublineages, including BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4/5, BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and XBB variants. X-ray crystallography studies revealed the molecular basis of broad and potent neutralization through targeting conserved RBD sites. In vivo prophylactic protection of 25F9, 20A7 and 27A12 was confirmed in aged Balb/c mice. Notably, administration of 25F9 provided complete protection against SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-2 BA.1, SARS-CoV, and SHC014 challenge, underscoring that these mAbs are promising pan-sarbecovirus therapeutic antibodies.Extremely potent pan-sarbecovirus neutralizing antibodies.
View details for DOI 10.1101/2023.01.19.524784
View details for PubMedID 36711543
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9882348
Clonal composition and persistence of antigen-specific circulating T follicular helper cells.
European journal of immunology
T follicular helper (TFH ) cells play an essential role in promoting B cell responses and antibody affinity maturation in germinal centres (GC). A subset of memory CD4+ T cells expressing the chemokine receptor CXCR5 has been described in human blood as phenotypically and clonally related to GC TFH cells. However, the antigen specificity and relationship of these circulating TFH (cTFH ) cells with other memory CD4+ T cells remain poorly defined. Combining antigenic stimulation and T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ sequencing, we found T cells specific to tetanus toxoid (TT), influenza vaccine (Flu) or Candida albicans (C.alb) in both cTFH and non-cTFH subsets, although with different frequencies and effector functions. Interestingly, cTFH and non-cTFH cells specific for C.alb or TT had a largely overlapping TCR Vβ repertoire while the repertoire of Flu-specific cTFH and non-cTFH cells was distinct. Furthermore, Flu-specific but not C.alb-specific PD-1+ cTFH cells had a "GC TFH -like" phenotype, with overexpression of IL21, CXCL13, and BCL6. Longitudinal analysis of serial blood donations showed that Flu-specific cTFH and non-cTFH cells persisted as stable repertoires for years. Collectively, our study provides insights on the relationship of cTFH with non-cTFH cells and on the heterogeneity and persistence of antigen-specific human cTFH cells. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1002/eji.202250190
View details for PubMedID 36480793
Assessment of the TCR Repertoire of Human Circulating T Follicular Helper Cells.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
2022; 2380: 149-163
Every T cell clone has its unique T cell receptor that results from somatic recombination of V(D)J genes in developing T cells. This process leads to a highly diverse TCR repertoire of naïve T cells, which is selected, upon antigenic recognition, to form the repertoires of effector and memory T cells. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology allows for the high-throughput analysis of the TCR repertoires in the different T cell populations. TFH cells, since their initial discovery in human tonsils and in mouse lymphoid organs, have become the subject of intense investigations due to their essential role in regulating B cell responses and the process of antibody affinity maturation. Circulating follicular helper T cells (cTFH) are considered a helper T cell linage in the blood that to some extent relates with bona fide TFH cells in the germinal centers of secondary lymphoid organs. Due to the limited access to the secondary lymphoid organs, cTFH have become a more accessible immunological readout. The assessment of the TCR repertoires of TFH and of cTFH cells is of both fundamental and clinical importance being instrumental to define the linage relationship of cTFH with other T cell subsets and to monitor response to infections or vaccination or disease states. In this chapter, we will provide detailed methods for isolation of antigen-specific cTFH cells in vitro and subsequent protocols for the high-throughput TCR sequencing, followed by repertoire data analysis.
View details for DOI 10.1007/978-1-0716-1736-6_13
View details for PubMedID 34802129
Durable protection against the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is induced by an adjuvanted subunit vaccine.
Science translational medicine
2022; 14 (658): eabq4130
Despite the remarkable efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, waning immunity and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants such as Omicron represents a global health challenge. Here, we present data from a study in nonhuman primates demonstrating durable protection against the Omicron BA.1 variant induced by a subunit SARS-CoV-2 vaccine comprising the receptor binding domain of the ancestral strain (RBD-Wu) on the I53-50 nanoparticle adjuvanted with AS03, which was recently authorized for use in individuals 18 years or older. Vaccination induced neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers that were maintained at high concentrations for at least 1 year after two doses, with a pseudovirus nAb geometric mean titer (GMT) of 1978 and a live virus nAb GMT of 1331 against the ancestral strain but not against the Omicron BA.1 variant. However, a booster dose at 6 to 12 months with RBD-Wu or RBD-beta (RBD from the Beta variant) displayed on I53-50 elicited high neutralizing titers against the ancestral and Omicron variants. In addition, we observed persistent neutralization titers against a panel of sarbecoviruses, including SARS-CoV. Furthermore, there were substantial and persistent memory T and B cell responses reactive to Beta and Omicron variants. Vaccination resulted in protection against Omicron infection in the lung and suppression of viral burden in the nares at 6 weeks after the final booster immunization. Even at 6 months after vaccination, we observed protection in the lung and rapid control of virus in the nares. These results highlight the durable and cross-protective immunity elicited by the AS03-adjuvanted RBD-I53-50 nanoparticle vaccine.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.abq4130
View details for PubMedID 35976993
- Durability of immune responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine MED 2022; 3 (1): 25-27
- Durability of immune responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. Med (New York, N.Y.) 2022; 3 (1): 25-27
Sequence-dependent abnormal aggregation of human Tau fragment in an inducible cell model
BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-MOLECULAR BASIS OF DISEASE
2015; 1852 (8): 1561-1573
A pathological hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD) is the accumulation of misfolded hyperphosphorylated microtubule-associated protein Tau within neurons, forming neurofibrillary tangles and leading to synaptic dysfunction and neuronal death. Here we study sequence-dependent abnormal aggregation of human fragment Tau244-372 in an inducible cell model. As evidenced by confocal laser scanning microscopy, Western blot, and immunogold electron microscopy, fibril-forming motifs are essential and sufficient for abnormal aggregation of Tau244-372 in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells induced by Congo red: when its two fibril-forming segments PHF6 and PHF6* are deleted, Tau244-372 does lose its ability to form fibrils in SH-SY5Y cells, and the replacement of PHF6 and PHF6* with an unrelated amyloidogenic sequence IFQINS from human lysozyme does rescue the fibril-forming ability of Tau244-372 in SH-SY5Y cells. By contrast, insertion of a non-fibril forming peptide GGGGGG does not drive the disabled Tau244-372 to misfold in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, as revealed by quantum dots based probes combined with annexin V staining, annexin V-FITC apoptosis detection assay, and immunofluorescence, fibril-forming motifs are essential and sufficient for early apoptosis of living SH-SY5Y cells induced by abnormal aggregation of Tau244-372. Our results suggest that fibril-forming motifs could be the determinants of Tau protein tending to misfold in living cells, thereby inducing neuronal apoptosis and causing the initiation and development of AD.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.04.015
View details for Web of Science ID 000356550100001
View details for PubMedID 25912737