Education & Certifications
Bachelor of Science, Stanford University, BIO-BSH (2011)
William Robinson, Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
The disease process in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) starts years before the clinical diagnosis is made, and elevated levels of disease-specific autoantibodies can be detected during this period. Early responses to known or novel autoantigens likely drive the eventual production of pathogenic autoimmunity. Importantly, the presence of disease-specific autoantibodies can identify individuals who are at high risk of developing RA but who do not currently have arthritis. The goal of the current study was to characterize plasmablasts from individuals at risk of developing RA.We investigated antibody-secreting plasmablasts derived from a well-characterized cohort of individuals who were at risk of developing RA, based on RA-related serum autoantibody positivity, as compared to patients with early (<1 year) seropositive RA as well as healthy control subjects. The plasmablast antibody repertoires of at-risk subjects were analyzed using DNA barcode-based methods with paired heavy- and light-chain gene sequencing. Cells were single-cell sorted, the cell- and plate-specific DNA barcodes were sequentially added, and next-generation sequencing was performed.Total plasmablast levels were similar in the antibody-positive (1%) and control (0.4-1.6%) groups. However, increased frequencies of IgA+ versus IgG+ plasmablasts were observed in the antibody-positive group (39% IgA+ and 37% IgG+) as compared to other groups (1-9% IgA+ and 71-87% IgG+). Paired antibody sequences from antibody-positive subjects revealed cross-isotype clonal families and similar sequence characteristics in the IgA and IgG plasmablast repertoires. Antibody-positive individuals also demonstrated elevated serum levels of IgA isotype anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide 3 antibodies.The IgA plasmablast dominance in these antibody-positive individuals suggests that a subset of RA-related autoantibodies may arise from mucosal immune responses and may be involved in early disease pathogenesis in individuals who are at risk of developing RA.
View details for DOI 10.1002/art.39771
View details for PubMedID 27273876
Infection by Staphylococcus aureus is on the rise, and there is a need for a better understanding of host immune responses that combat S. aureus. Here we use DNA barcoding to enable deep sequencing of the paired heavy- and light-chain immunoglobulin genes expressed by individual plasmablasts derived from S. aureus-infected humans. Bioinformatic analysis of the antibody repertoires revealed clonal families of heavy-chain sequences and enabled rational selection of antibodies for recombinant expression. Of the ten recombinant antibodies produced, seven bound to S. aureus, of which four promoted opsonophagocytosis of S. aureus. Five of the antibodies bound to known S. aureus cell-surface antigens, including fibronectin-binding protein A. Fibronectin-binding protein A-specific antibodies were isolated from two independent S. aureus-infected patients and mediated neutrophil killing of S. aureus in in vitro assays. Thus, our DNA barcoding approach enabled efficient identification of antibodies involved in protective host antibody responses against S. aureus.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clim.2014.02.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000335291400010
We developed a DNA barcoding method to enable high-throughput sequencing of the cognate heavy- and light-chain pairs of the antibodies expressed by individual B cells. We used this approach to elucidate the plasmablast antibody response to influenza vaccination. We show that >75% of the rationally selected plasmablast antibodies bind and neutralize influenza, and that antibodies from clonal families, defined by sharing both heavy-chain VJ and light-chain VJ sequence usage, do so most effectively. Vaccine-induced heavy-chain VJ regions contained on average >20 nucleotide mutations as compared to their predicted germline gene sequences, and some vaccine-induced antibodies exhibited higher binding affinities for hemagglutinins derived from prior years' seasonal influenza as compared to their affinities for the immunization strains. Our results show that influenza vaccination induces the recall of memory B cells that express antibodies that previously underwent affinity maturation against prior years' seasonal influenza, suggesting that 'original antigenic sin' shapes the antibody response to influenza vaccination.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clim.2013.12.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000332351100006
View details for PubMedID 24525048