We recently identified a novel population of flu-specific, lung-resident memory B cells (BRM cells) that are phenotypically different than systemic memory B cells, reside in unique sites in the lung and respond more rapidly to challenge infection than their systemic counterparts. Interestingly, lung BRM cells provide a significant degree of protection to challenge infection, even when they do not cross-react with the HA and NA proteins of the challenge virus, suggesting that BRM cells have additional effector functions beyond antibody (Ab) production. In fact, B cells make inflammatory cytokines like IFN?, lymphotoxin, OX40L and IL-6, as well as anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10, IL-27 and IL-35. Moreover they are potent APCs, particularly for their cognate antigens. Thus, BRM cells have a variety of mechanisms, in addition to Ab, to modulate inflammation and promote anti- viral immunity. The experiments in this proposal will investigate the mechanisms used by flu-specific BRM cells to clear virus and protect the lung and will determine how pulmonary vaccination can elicit and maintain BRM cells in the lung.
. The experiments in this proposal will examine the functions of memory B cells that live in the lung and respond to influenza infection and compare them with memory B cells that live at systemic sites. We will also determine how various vaccination strategies enhance or impair the formation of memory B cells in the lung, experiments that are critically important for understanding how and when vaccines should be administered in the respiratory tract.