Shifting vaccine-induced immunodominance patterns

An adjuvant is a pharmacological and/or immunological agent that are added to vaccines in order to modify the immune response by boosting it such as to give a higher amount of antibodies and a longer lasting protection. While adjuvants have been licensed and used in vaccines for more than a century, only recently have we began to unravel the mechanisms by which they enhance the immune responses to vaccines. We use peptide and protein antigen arrays to profile vaccine-induced antibody responses in animal models and in humans. The goal of this project was to test whether adjuvants can also act by shifting the immunodominance pattern of the vaccine induced responses.  

We have recently shown that treating mice with low-dose of rapamycin during a sub-lethal influenza H3N2 infection protects them from a lethal challenge with H5N1, H1N1 or H7N9 influenza strains. My role in this project was to characterize and compare the influenza antibody repertoire of mice treated with rapamycin to a control group. 




Using antigen microarrays to identify differentially targeted antigens to the H5N1 trimer

Differentially targeted antigens to the H5N1 HA trimer challenge strain. Epitopes to which responses were found to be differentially targeted (p<0.05, Fisher’s test) are plotted on the HA trimer of H5N1. Differentially targeted antigens in the rapamycin group are colored in pink (IgM) and red (IgG) and in blue (IgM) and purple (IgG) in the control group.