Respiratory tract infections induce strong and long-lasting humoral immune responses locally at the site, contributing significantly to immune protection from challenge infection. The mechanisms that induce and control protective local immune responses are currently not fully understood. The study is based on preliminary data in mice that implicate the rapidly induced extrafollicular foci B cell response as source for long-lived humoral immunity in the respiratory tract following influenza virus infection. The objective for this proposal is to identify the mechanisms that regulate this long-term local antibody response to influenza virus in the respiratory tract.
In Specific Aim #1 the differentiation pathways and protective capacity of lung antibody-secreting cells following influenza virus infection will be measured in wildtype mice and in mice that lack formation of germinal centers (SAP-/- mice) or strong extrafollicular foci responses (following inactivated virus delivery) using BLIMP-1 reporter mice and a newly developed system for tracking of influenza hemagglutinin-specific, C12Id-expressing B cells ex vivo.
Specific Aim #2 will study the mechanisms regulating the migration/retention of lung plasma cell precursors to the respiratory tract. They will assess the extent to which migration of virus-specific B cells/plasma cells from regional lymph nodes is required for the establishment of lung tissue plasma cell pools, and using genetic screening and a custom microfluidics device, will identify the integrins and chemokines/receptors responsible for the selective accumulation and/or retention of plasma cells the lung tissue under shear stress.
Specific Aim #3 will use gene expression studies to determine the differentiation stage of plasma cells/precursors in the lung tissue and BrDU labeling studies to identify the mechanisms underlying the longevity of the antibody-secreting cells in the lung. Adoptive transfer studies will assess the requirements for antigen and/or infection-induced inflammatory signals for their maintenance. These studies will provide novel information on the characteristics and the B cell developmental pathways that generate the long-lived humoral immune responses in the respiratory tract, basic knowledge on B cell response regulation that can aid rationale vaccine design.

Public Health Relevance

Protection from infections with influenza virus is contributed at least in part by antibody-secreting cells that establish in the lung following influenza virus infection. This study aims to understand how these cells are generated and what regulates their migration/maintenance in the lung. This basic information will provide potential avenues for rational vaccine design that aims to boost local/mucosal immune responses.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMM-E (02))
Program Officer
Hauguel, Teresa M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Davis
Veterinary Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Baumgarth, Nicole (2016) B-1 Cell Heterogeneity and the Regulation of Natural and Antigen-Induced IgM Production. Front Immunol 7:324
Elsner, Rebecca A; Hastey, Christine J; Olsen, Kimberly J et al. (2015) Suppression of Long-Lived Humoral Immunity Following Borrelia burgdorferi Infection. PLoS Pathog 11:e1004976
Waffarn, Elizabeth E; Hastey, Christine J; Dixit, Neha et al. (2015) Infection-induced type I interferons activate CD11b on B-1 cells for subsequent lymph node accumulation. Nat Commun 6:8991
Baumgarth, Nicole; Waffarn, Elizabeth E; Nguyen, Trang T T (2015) Natural and induced B-1 cell immunity to infections raises questions of nature versus nurture. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1362:188-99
Nguyen, Trang T T; Elsner, Rebecca A; Baumgarth, Nicole (2015) Natural IgM prevents autoimmunity by enforcing B cell central tolerance induction. J Immunol 194:1489-502
Savage, Hannah P; Baumgarth, Nicole (2015) Characteristics of natural antibody-secreting cells. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1362:132-42
Yenson, Vanessa; Baumgarth, Nicole (2014) Purification and immune phenotyping of B-1 cells from body cavities of mice. Methods Mol Biol 1190:17-34
Priest, Stephen O; Baumgarth, Nicole (2013) The role of innate signals in B cell immunity to influenza virus. Front Biosci (Schol Ed) 5:105-17
Baumgarth, Nicole (2013) Innate-like B cells and their rules of engagement. Adv Exp Med Biol 785:57-66
Baumgarth, Nicole (2013) How specific is too specific? B-cell responses to viral infections reveal the importance of breadth over depth. Immunol Rev 255:82-94

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications