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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.
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.
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.
The events required for the induction of broad neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) following HIV-1 envelope (Env) vaccination are unknown, and their induction in animal models as proof of concept would be critical. Here, we describe the induction of plasma antibodies capable of neutralizing heterologous primary (tier 2) HIV-1 strains in one macaque and two rabbits. Env immunogens were designed to induce CD4 binding site (CD4bs) bnAbs, but surprisingly, the macaque developed V1V2-glycan bnAbs. Env immunization of CD4bs bnAb heavy chain rearrangement (VDJ) knockin mice similarly induced V1V2-glycan neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), wherein the human CD4bs V chains were replaced with mouse rearrangements bearing diversity region (D)-D fusions, creating antibodies with long, tyrosine-rich HCDR3s. Our results show that Env vaccination can elicit broad neutralization of tier 2 HIV-1, demonstrate that V1V2-glycan bnAbs are more readily induced than CD4bs bnAbs, and define V replacement and diversity region fusion as potential mechanisms for generating V1V2-glycan bnAb site antibodies.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) envelope protein D8 is one of three glycosaminoglycan adhesion molecules and binds to the linear polysaccharide chondroitin sulfate (CS). D8 is also a target for neutralizing antibody responses that are elicited by the smallpox vaccine, which has enabled the first eradication of a human viral pathogen and is a useful model for studying antibody responses. However, to date, VACV epitopes targeted by human antibodies have not been characterized at atomic resolution. Here, we characterized the binding properties of several human anti-D8 antibodies and determined the crystal structures of three VACV-mAb variants, VACV-66, VACV-138, and VACV-304, separately bound to D8. Although all these antibodies bound D8 with high affinity and were moderately neutralizing in the presence of complement, VACV-138 and VACV-304 also fully blocked D8 binding to CS-A, the low affinity ligand for D8. VACV-138 also abrogated D8 binding to the high-affinity ligand CS-E, but we observed residual CS-E binding was observed in the presence of VACV-304. Analysis of the VACV-138- and VACV-304-binding sites along the CS-binding crevice of D8, combined with different efficiencies of blocking D8 adhesion to CS-A and CS-E allowed us to propose that D8 has a high- and low-affinity CS-binding region within its central crevice. The crevice is amenable to protein engineering to further enhance both specificity and affinity of binding to CS-E. Finally, a wild-type D8 tetramer specifically bound to structures within the developing glomeruli of the kidney, which express CS-E. We propose that through structure-based protein engineering, an improved D8 tetramer could be used as a potential diagnostic tool to detect expression of CS-E, which is a possible biomarker for ovarian cancer.
© 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
While progress has been made in characterizing humoral immunity to Zika virus (ZIKV) in humans, little is known regarding the corresponding T cell responses to ZIKV. Here, we investigate the kinetics and viral epitopes targeted by T cells responding to ZIKV and address the critical question of whether preexisting dengue virus (DENV) T cell immunity modulates these responses. We find that memory T cell responses elicited by prior infection with DENV or vaccination with tetravalent dengue attenuated vaccines (TDLAV) recognize ZIKV-derived peptides. This cross-reactivity is explained by the sequence similarity of the two viruses, as the ZIKV peptides recognized by DENV-elicited memory T cells are identical or highly conserved in DENV and ZIKV. DENV exposure prior to ZIKV infection also influences the timing and magnitude of the T cell response. ZIKV-reactive T cells in the acute phase of infection are detected earlier and in greater magnitude in DENV-immune patients. Conversely, the frequency of ZIKV-reactive T cells continues to rise in the convalescent phase in DENV-naive donors but declines in DENV-preexposed donors, compatible with more efficient control of ZIKV replication and/or clearance of ZIKV antigen. The quality of responses is also influenced by previous DENV exposure, and ZIKV-specific CD8 T cells from DENV-preexposed donors selectively upregulated granzyme B and PD1, unlike DENV-naive donors. Finally, we discovered that ZIKV structural proteins (E, prM, and C) are major targets of both the CD4 and CD8 T cell responses, whereas DENV T cell epitopes are found primarily in nonstructural proteins. The issue of potential ZIKV and DENV cross-reactivity and how preexisting DENV T cell immunity modulates Zika T cell responses is of great relevance, as the two viruses often cocirculate and Zika virus has been spreading in geographical regions where DENV is endemic or hyperendemic. Our data show that memory T cell responses elicited by prior infection with DENV recognize ZIKV-derived peptides and that DENV exposure prior to ZIKV infection influences the timing, magnitude, and quality of the T cell response. Additionally, we show that ZIKV-specific responses target different proteins than DENV-specific responses, pointing toward important implications for vaccine design against this global threat.
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.