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Publications of the Week

Detection and Activation of HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Precursor B Cells Using Anti-Idiotypes

By August 19, 2019No Comments

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This week we profile a recent publication in the Journal of Experimental
Medicine from the laboratory of Dr. Justin Taylor (pictured) at Fred Hutch.

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

We have two major areas of interest:

  1. Understanding the capabilities of rare B cells able to respond to vaccine candidates. The long-term goal of this work is to be able to predict whether or not a vaccine candidate will stimulate B cells able to produce protective antibodies.
  2. Genetic engineering of B cells to protect or treat disease. Here we have been using CRISPR/Cas9 to replace the natural antibody produced by B cells with ones that we know are protective against infection or other diseases. We had a publication in Science Immunology earlier this year on this area.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

The significance of this work is two-fold. First, we merged an old technology, anti-idiotypes, showing that it could be paired with newer approaches to develop vaccine candidates focused on inducing specific types of protective antibodies. Second, we found evidence that suggested that one of the reasons why broadly neutralizing antibodies similar to b12 are not induced by infection or vaccination is that this lineage is cross-reactive with self-antigens and subjected to tolerance mechanisms employed to prevent autoimmunity.

What are the next steps for this research?

My colleague and co-corresponding author Andy McGuire has been developing other anti-idiotypes as immunogens to stimulate a different lineage of broadly neutralizing antibodies. The first paper from this exciting work was be published in the same issue of J Exp Med, and he has additional studies coming together.

This work was funded by:

This study was funded by the NIH, and the initial work was funded by an internal “VIDD Initiative” grant.

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