Influenza A virus (IAV) and influenza B virus (IBV) cause substantial morbidity and mortality during annual epidemics. Two distinct lineages of IBV are distinguished, based on variation in hemagglutinin (HA): B/Victoria/2/87-like (B/Vic) and B/Yamagata/16/88-like (B/Yam). Here, we show that, in humans, primary IBV infection with either lineage induces HA-specific antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-mediating antibodies. IBV infection induced antibodies specific to the HA head and stalk, but only HA stalk-specific antibodies mediated ADCC efficiently and displayed cross-reactivity with IBV of both lineages. This corresponds to recent findings that 2 points of contact between the effector and target cell (ie, HA and sialic acid, respectively, and the fragment crystallizable [Fc] domain and Fcγ receptor IIIα, respectively) are required for efficient ADCC activity and that antibodies specific for the receptor-binding site located in the head domain of HA therefore fail to mediate ADCC. Potentially, ADCC-mediating antibodies directed to the HA stalk of IBV contribute to cross-protective immunity to IBV of both lineages.
Keywords: Influenza B virus; antibodies; antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity; hemagglutinin; natural killer cells.
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