The specificity of antibodies (Abs) generated against influenza A virus (IAV) infection can significantly alter protection and viral clearance. At present, the impact of age upon this process is relatively unexplored. Here, we evaluated the Ab response in newborn and adult African green monkeys following infection with IAV using a strain that enables us to determine the immunodominance (ID) hierarchy of the Ab response to hemagglutinin (HA), the principal target of protective Abs. This revealed altered ID patterns in the early IgM anti-HA response in newborns versus adults that converged over time. While the IgG ID profiles for HA in newborn and adult monkeys were similar, this was not the case for IgA. Importantly, HA stem–specific Abs were generated robustly and similarly in newborns and adults in terms of quality and quantity. Together, these results demonstrate that newborns and adults can differ in the Ab ID pattern established following infection and that the ID pattern can vary across isotypes. In addition, newborns have the ability to generate potent HA stem–specific Ab responses. Our findings further the understanding of the newborn response to IAV antigens and inform the development of improved vaccines for this at-risk population.
Elene Clemens, Davide Angeletti, Beth C. Holbrook, Masaru Kanekiyo, Matthew J. Jorgensen, Barney S. Graham, Jonathan Yewdell, Martha A. Alexander-Miller