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Zika virus (ZIKV) is a major human pathogen and member of the genus in the Flaviviridae family. In contrast to most other insect-transmitted flaviviruses, ZIKV also can be transmitted sexually and from mother to fetus in humans. During recent outbreaks, ZIKV infections have been linked to microcephaly, congenital disease, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Neutralizing antibodies have potential as therapeutic agents. We report here a 4-Å-resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of the ZIKV virion in complex with Fab fragments of the potently neutralizing human monoclonal antibody ZIKV-195. The footprint of the ZIKV-195 Fab fragment expands across two adjacent envelope (E) protein protomers. ZIKV neutralization by this antibody is presumably accomplished by cross-linking the E proteins, which likely prevents formation of E protein trimers required for fusion of the viral and cellular membranes. A single dose of ZIKV-195 administered 5 days after virus inoculation showed marked protection against lethality in a stringent mouse model of infection.
Influenza is a yearly threat to global public health. Rapid changes in influenza surface proteins resulting from antigenic drift and shift events make it difficult to readily identify antibodies with broadly neutralizing activity against different influenza subtypes with high frequency, specifically antibodies targeting the receptor binding domain (RBD) on influenza HA protein. We developed an optimized computational design method that is able to optimize an antibody for recognition of large panels of antigens. To demonstrate the utility of this multistate design method, we used it to redesign an antiinfluenza antibody against a large panel of more than 500 seasonal HA antigens of the H1 subtype. As a proof of concept, we tested this method on a variety of known antiinfluenza antibodies and identified those that could be improved computationally. We generated redesigned variants of antibody C05 to the HA RBD and experimentally characterized variants that exhibited improved breadth and affinity against our panel. C05 mutants exhibited improved affinity for three of the subtypes used in design by stabilizing the CDRH3 loop and creating favorable electrostatic interactions with the antigen. These mutants possess increased breadth and affinity of binding while maintaining high-affinity binding to existing targets, surpassing a major limitation up to this point.
Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is a pathogen that causes outbreaks of respiratory illness across the world, mostly in children, and can be especially severe in those with asthma. Clusters of acute flaccid myelitis, a poliomyelitis-like neuromuscular weakness syndrome, often occur concurrent with EV-D68 respiratory outbreaks. Seroepidemiologic studies have found that the serum of nearly everyone older than 2 to 5 years contains anti-EV-D68 neutralizing antibodies, which suggests that EV-D68 is a ubiquitous pathogen of childhood. However, knowledge of the viral epitopes against which the humoral immune response is directed is only inferred from previous studies of related viruses. Although neutralizing antibodies protect newborn mice from lethal EV-D68 inoculation via nonphysiologic routes, cotton rats have a mixed phenotype of both benefit and possible exacerbation when inoculated intranasally. The human antibody response to EV-D68 needs to be studied further to clarify the role of antibodies in protection versus pathogenesis, which might differ among respiratory and neurologic disease phenotypes.
Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are rarely elicited by current human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine designs, but the presence of bNAbs in naturally infected individuals may be associated with high plasma viral loads, suggesting that the magnitude, duration, and diversity of viral exposure may contribute to the development of bNAbs. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a panel of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from two subjects who developed broadly neutralizing autologous antibody responses during HIV-1 infection. In both subjects, we identified collections of mAbs that exhibited specificity only to a few autologous envelopes (Envs), with some mAbs exhibiting specificity only to a subset of Envs within the quasispecies of a particular sample at one time point. Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) isolated from these subjects mapped mostly to epitopes in the Env V3 loop region and the CD4 binding site. None of the individual neutralizing mAbs recovered exhibited the cumulative breadth of neutralization present in the serum of the subjects. Surprisingly, however, the activity of polyclonal mixtures comprising individual mAbs that each possessed limited neutralizing activity, could achieve increased breadth of neutralizing activity against autologous isolates. While a single broadly neutralizing antibody targeting one epitope can mediate neutralization breadth, the findings presented here suggest that a cooperative polyclonal process mediated by diverse antibodies with more limited breadth targeting multiple epitopes also can achieve neutralization breadth against HIV-1.
West Nile virus (WNV), a member of the Flavivirus genus, is a leading cause of viral encephalitis in the United States. The development of neutralizing antibodies against the flavivirus envelope (E) protein is critical for immunity and vaccine protection. Previously identified candidate therapeutic mouse and human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) target epitopes within the E domain III lateral ridge and the domain I-II hinge region, respectively. To explore the neutralizing antibody repertoire elicited by WNV infection for potential therapeutic application, we isolated ten mAbs from WNV-infected individuals. mAb WNV-86 neutralized WNV with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 2 ng ml, one of the most potently neutralizing flavivirus-specific antibodies ever isolated. WNV-86 targets an epitope in E domain II, and preferentially recognizes mature virions lacking an uncleaved form of the chaperone protein prM, unlike most flavivirus-specific antibodies. In vitro selection experiments revealed a neutralization escape mechanism involving a glycan addition to E domain II. Finally, a single dose of WNV-86 administered two days post-infection protected mice from lethal WNV challenge. This study identifies a highly potent human neutralizing mAb with therapeutic potential that targets an epitope preferentially displayed on mature virions.
Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus with a high case mortality rate in humans. EEEV is a biodefence concern because of its potential for aerosol spread and the lack of existing countermeasures. Here, we identify a panel of 18 neutralizing murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the EEEV E2 glycoprotein, several of which have 'elite' activity with 50 and 99% effective inhibitory concentrations (EC and EC) of less than 10 and 100 ng ml, respectively. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis and neutralization escape mapping analysis revealed epitopes for these mAbs in domains A or B of the E2 glycoprotein. A majority of the neutralizing mAbs blocked infection at a post-attachment stage, with several inhibiting viral membrane fusion. Administration of one dose of anti-EEEV mAb protected mice from lethal subcutaneous or aerosol challenge. These experiments define the mechanistic basis for neutralization by protective anti-EEEV mAbs and suggest a path forward for treatment and vaccine design.
The role that broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) play in natural clearance of human hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Here, we investigate the mechanism by which bNAbs, isolated from two humans who spontaneously cleared HCV infection, contribute to HCV control. Using viral gene sequences amplified from longitudinal plasma of the two subjects, we found that these bNAbs, which target the front layer of the HCV envelope protein E2, neutralized most autologous HCV strains. Acquisition of resistance to bNAbs by some autologous strains was accompanied by progressive loss of E2 protein function, and temporally associated with HCV clearance. These data demonstrate that bNAbs can mediate clearance of human HCV infection by neutralizing infecting strains and driving escaped viruses to an unfit state. These immunopathologic events distinguish HCV from HIV-1 and suggest that development of an HCV vaccine may be achievable.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine efforts are hampered by the extensive genetic diversity of HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2. Structures of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) (e.g., HEPC3, HEPC74) isolated from individuals who spontaneously cleared HCV infection facilitate immunogen design to elicit antibodies against multiple HCV variants. However, challenges in expressing HCV glycoproteins previously limited bNAb-HCV structures to complexes with truncated E2 cores. Here we describe crystal structures of full-length E2 ectodomain complexes with HEPC3 and HEPC74, revealing lock-and-key antibody-antigen interactions, E2 regions (including a target of immunogen design) that were truncated or disordered in E2 cores, and an antibody CDRH3 disulfide motif that exhibits common interactions with a conserved epitope despite different bNAb-E2 binding orientations. The structures display unusual features relevant to common genetic signatures of HCV bNAbs and demonstrate extraordinary plasticity in antibody-antigen interactions. In addition, E2 variants that bind HEPC3/HEPC74-like germline precursors may represent candidate vaccine immunogens.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Computational protein design has been successful in modeling fixed backbone proteins in a single conformation. However, when modeling large ensembles of flexible proteins, current methods in protein design have been insufficient. Large barriers in the energy landscape are difficult to traverse while redesigning a protein sequence, and as a result current design methods only sample a fraction of available sequence space. We propose a new computational approach that combines traditional structure-based modeling using the Rosetta software suite with machine learning and integer linear programming to overcome limitations in the Rosetta sampling methods. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this method, which we call BROAD, by benchmarking the performance on increasing predicted breadth of anti-HIV antibodies. We use this novel method to increase predicted breadth of naturally-occurring antibody VRC23 against a panel of 180 divergent HIV viral strains and achieve 100% predicted binding against the panel. In addition, we compare the performance of this method to state-of-the-art multistate design in Rosetta and show that we can outperform the existing method significantly. We further demonstrate that sequences recovered by this method recover known binding motifs of broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies. Finally, our approach is general and can be extended easily to other protein systems. Although our modeled antibodies were not tested in vitro, we predict that these variants would have greatly increased breadth compared to the wild-type antibody.
Highly effective HIV-1-neutralizing antibodies could have utility in the prevention or treatment of HIV-1 infection. To improve the potency of 10E8, an antibody capable of near pan-HIV-1 neutralization, we engineered 10E8-surface mutants and screened for improved neutralization. Variants with the largest functional enhancements involved the addition of hydrophobic or positively charged residues, which were positioned to interact with viral membrane lipids or viral glycan-sialic acids, respectively. In both cases, the site of improvement was spatially separated from the region of antibody mediating molecular contact with the protein component of the antigen, thereby improving peripheral semi-specific interactions while maintaining unmodified dominant contacts responsible for broad recognition. The optimized 10E8 antibody, with mutations to phenylalanine and arginine, retained the extraordinary breadth of 10E8 but with ∼10-fold increased potency. We propose surface-matrix screening as a general method to improve antibodies, with improved semi-specific interactions between antibody and antigen enabling increased potency without compromising breadth.
Published by Elsevier Inc.