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Ex vivo synthetic immune tissues with T cell signals for differentiating antigen-specific, high affinity germinal center B cells

Purwada, Alberto, Shah, Shivem B., Béguelin, Wendy, August, Avery, Melnick, Ari M., Singh, Ankur
Biomaterials 2019 v.198 pp. 27-36
B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes, animal models, antibodies, antigen detection, apoptosis, biotechnology, cell differentiation, extracellular matrix, haptens, humoral immunity, hydrogels, immunogenicity, immunoglobulin G, integrins, lymph nodes, mice, mutants, polyethylene glycol, transgenic animals, vaccine development
Most antigen discovery and vaccine development aimed at driving functional B cell responses rely on mouse immunizations studies. To date, there is no 3D ex vivo immune tissues, which are capable of driving antigen-specific B cell responses to rapidly determine the humoral immunogenicity of antigens, understand the role of extracellular matrix in humoral immunity, and generate high affinity antibody responses. This can be attributed to the complexity of B cell differentiation and affinity maturation process in the germinal center (GC) reaction, which makes these highly specialized cells susceptible to rapid apoptosis ex vivo. We have previously reported immune tissues that show ex vivo GC-like response, however in a non-antigen specific manner. Here, we report a maleimide (MAL)-functionalized polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based designer immune tissues that modulate B cell differentiation and enriches antigen-specific GC B cells in the presence of T-cell like signals. With the 3D synthetic immune tissue platform, we assessed various hydrogel design parameters to control ex vivo GC reaction. Using an Ezh2fl/fl Cγ1-cre transgenic mouse model, we demonstrated ex vivo IgG1 antibody class switching. Using immune tissues developed from a B1-8hi mutant mouse that represents a recombined antibody variable region derived from a 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenylacetyl (NP) hapten binding antibody (B1-8), we demonstrate antigen specificity and selective enrichment of antigen-specific B cells with high affinity at both cell surface and secreted levels in integrin ligand-dependent manner. The ex vivo antigen-specific platform technology offers use in scientific understanding of immunobiology, matrix immunology, and in biotechnology applications, ranging from the antigen testing, vaccine development, and generation of antibodies against diseases.