Min Huang

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (9)92.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although dogma predicts that under normal circumstances potentially offensive autoreactive cells are silenced by mechanisms of immune tolerance, islet antigen-reactive B lymphocytes are known to play a crucial role in the development of autoimmunity in Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Thus participation of these cells in T1D may reflect escape from silencing mechanisms. Consistent with this concept we found that in healthy subjects, high affinity insulin-binding B cells (IBCs) occur exclusively in the anergic BND compartment. Antigen receptors expressed by these cells are polyreactive and have N-region additions, Vh usage, and charged CDR3 regions consistent with autoreactivity. Consistent with a potential early role in autoimmunity, these high affinity insulin-binding B cells are absent from the anergic compartment of some first degree relatives, and all pre-diabetic and new-onset (<1yr) T1D patients tested, but return to normal levels in individuals diabetic for >1 year. Interestingly, these changes were correlated by transient loss of the entire BND compartment. These findings suggest that environmental events such as infection or injury may, by disrupting B cell anergy, dispose individuals toward autoimmunity, the precise nature of which is specified by genetic risk factors, such as HLA alleles. © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
    Diabetes 12/2014; · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection commonly results in chronic or recurrent disease, suggesting that humoral memory responses are hampered. Understanding how S. aureus subverts the immune response is critical for the rescue of host natural humoral immunity and vaccine development. S. aureus expresses the virulence factor Protein A (SpA) on all clinical isolates, and SpA has been shown in mice to expand and ablate variable heavy 3 (VH3) idiotype B cells. The effects of SpA during natural infection, however, have not been addressed. Acutely activated B cells, or plasmablasts (PBs), were analyzed to dissect the ongoing immune response to infection through the production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The B cells that were activated by infection had a highly limited response. When screened against multiple S. aureus antigens, only high-affinity binding to SpA was observed. Consistently, PBs underwent affinity maturation, but their B cell receptors demonstrated significant bias toward the VH3 idiotype. These data suggest that the superantigenic activity of SpA leads to immunodominance, limiting host responses to other S. aureus virulence factors that would be necessary for protection and memory formation.
    The Journal of experimental medicine. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Influenza viruses typically cause the most severe disease in children and elderly individuals. However, H1N1 viruses disproportionately affected middle-aged adults during the 2013-2014 influenza season. Although H1N1 viruses recently acquired several mutations in the hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein, classic serological tests used by surveillance laboratories indicate that these mutations do not change antigenic properties of the virus. Here, we show that one of these mutations is located in a region of HA targeted by antibodies elicited in many middle-aged adults. We find that over 42% of individuals born between 1965 and 1979 possess antibodies that recognize this region of HA. Our findings offer a possible antigenic explanation of why middle-aged adults were highly susceptible to H1N1 viruses during the 2013-2014 influenza season. Our data further suggest that a drifted H1N1 strain should be included in future influenza vaccines to potentially reduce morbidity and mortality in this age group.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Coeliac disease (CD), an enteropathy caused by cereal gluten ingestion, is characterized by CD4(+) T cells recognizing deamidated gluten and by antibodies reactive to gluten or the self-antigen transglutaminase 2 (TG2). TG2-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) of plasma cells (PCs) from CD lesions have limited somatic hypermutation (SHM). Here we report that gluten-specific IgA of lesion-resident PCs share this feature. Monoclonal antibodies were expression cloned from single PCs of patients either isolated from cultures with reactivity to complex deamidated gluten antigen or by sorting with gluten peptide tetramers. Typically, the antibodies bind gluten peptides related to T-cell epitopes and many have higher reactivity to deamidated peptides. There is restricted VH and VL combination and usage among the antibodies. Limited SHM suggests that a common factor governs the mutation level in PCs producing TG2- and gluten-specific IgA. The antibodies have potential use for diagnosis of CD and for detection of gluten.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:4041. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human antibody repertoire is one of the most important defenses against infectious disease, and the development of vaccines has enabled the conferral of targeted protection to specific pathogens. However, there are many challenges to measuring and analyzing the immunoglobulin sequence repertoire, including that each B cell's genome encodes a distinct antibody sequence, that the antibody repertoire changes over time, and the high similarity between antibody sequences. We have addressed these challenges by using high-throughput long read sequencing to perform immunogenomic characterization of expressed human antibody repertoires in the context of influenza vaccination. Informatic analysis of 5 million antibody heavy chain sequences from healthy individuals allowed us to perform global characterizations of isotype distributions, determine the lineage structure of the repertoire, and measure age- and antigen-related mutational activity. Our analysis of the clonal structure and mutational distribution of individuals' repertoires shows that elderly subjects have a decreased number of lineages but an increased prevaccination mutation load in their repertoire and that some of these subjects have an oligoclonal character to their repertoire in which the diversity of the lineages is greatly reduced relative to younger subjects. We have thus shown that global analysis of the immune system's clonal structure provides direct insight into the effects of vaccination and provides a detailed molecular portrait of age-related effects.
    Science translational medicine 02/2013; 5(171):171ra19. · 10.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The important subtleties of B cell tolerance are best understood in a diverse immunoglobulin (Ig) repertoire context encoding a full spectrum of autoreactivity. To achieve this, we used mice expressing Igκ transgenes that confer varying degrees of autoreactivity within a diverse heavy chain (HC) repertoire. These transgenes, coupled with a biomarker to identify receptor-edited cells and combined with expression cloning of B cell receptors, allowed us to analyze tolerance throughout B cell development. We found that both the nature of the autoantigen and the Ig HC versus light chain (LC) contribution to autoreactivity dictate the developmental stage and mechanism of tolerance. Furthermore, although selection begins in the bone marrow, over one third of primary tolerance occurs in the periphery at the late transitional developmental stage. Notably, we demonstrate that the LC has profound effects on tolerance and can lead to exacerbated autoantibody production.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 12/2012; · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that broadly neutralizing antibodies reactive to the conserved stem region of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) were generated in people infected with the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain. Such antibodies are rarely seen in humans following infection or vaccination with seasonal influenza virus strains. However, the important question remained whether the inactivated 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine, like the infection, could also induce these broadly neutralizing antibodies. To address this question, we analyzed B-cell responses in 24 healthy adults immunized with the pandemic vaccine in 2009. In all cases, we found a rapid, predominantly IgG-producing vaccine-specific plasmablast response. Strikingly, the majority (25 of 28) of HA-specific monoclonal antibodies generated from the vaccine-specific plasmablasts neutralized more than one influenza strain and exhibited high levels of somatic hypermutation, suggesting they were derived from recall of B-cell memory. Indeed, memory B cells that recognized the 2009 pandemic H1N1 HA were detectable before vaccination not only in this cohort but also in samples obtained before the emergence of the pandemic strain. Three antibodies demonstrated extremely broad cross-reactivity and were found to bind the HA stem. Furthermore, one stem-reactive antibody recognized not only H1 and H5, but also H3 influenza viruses. This exceptional cross-reactivity indicates that antibodies capable of neutralizing most influenza subtypes might indeed be elicited by vaccination. The challenge now is to improve upon this result and design influenza vaccines that can elicit these broadly cross-reactive antibodies at sufficiently high levels to provide heterosubtypic protection.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(23):9047-52. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Celiac disease is an immune-mediated disorder in which mucosal autoantibodies to the enzyme transglutaminase 2 (TG2) are generated in response to the exogenous antigen gluten in individuals who express human leukocyte antigen HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 (ref. 3). We assessed in a comprehensive and nonbiased manner the IgA anti-TG2 response by expression cloning of the antibody repertoire of ex vivo-isolated intestinal antibody-secreting cells (ASCs). We found that TG2-specific plasma cells are markedly expanded within the duodenal mucosa in individuals with active celiac disease. TG2-specific antibodies were of high affinity yet showed little adaptation by somatic mutations. Unlike infection-induced peripheral blood plasmablasts, the TG2-specific ASCs had not recently proliferated and were not short-lived ex vivo. Altogether, these observations demonstrate that there is a germline repertoire with high affinity for TG2 that may favor massive generation of autoreactive B cells. TG2-specific antibodies did not block enzymatic activity and served as substrates for TG2-mediated crosslinking when expressed as IgD or IgM but not as IgA1 or IgG1. This could result in preferential recruitment of plasma cells from naive IgD- and IgM-expressing B cells, thus possibly explaining why the antibody response to TG2 bears signs of a primary immune response despite the disease chronicity.
    Nature medicine 01/2012; 18(3):441-5. · 27.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza pandemic demonstrated the global health threat of reassortant influenza strains. Herein, we report a detailed analysis of plasmablast and monoclonal antibody responses induced by pandemic H1N1 infection in humans. Unlike antibodies elicited by annual influenza vaccinations, most neutralizing antibodies induced by pandemic H1N1 infection were broadly cross-reactive against epitopes in the hemagglutinin (HA) stalk and head domain of multiple influenza strains. The antibodies were from cells that had undergone extensive affinity maturation. Based on these observations, we postulate that the plasmablasts producing these broadly neutralizing antibodies were predominantly derived from activated memory B cells specific for epitopes conserved in several influenza strains. Consequently, most neutralizing antibodies were broadly reactive against divergent H1N1 and H5N1 influenza strains. This suggests that a pan-influenza vaccine may be possible, given the right immunogen. Antibodies generated potently protected and rescued mice from lethal challenge with pandemic H1N1 or antigenically distinct influenza strains, making them excellent therapeutic candidates.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2011; 208(1):181-93. · 13.21 Impact Factor