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Antibodies capable of neutralizing divergent influenza A viruses could form the basis of a universal vaccine. Here, from subjects enrolled in an H5N1 DNA/MIV-prime-boost influenza vaccine trial, we sorted hemagglutinin cross-reactive memory B cells and identified three antibody classes, each capable of neutralizing diverse subtypes of group 1 and group 2 influenza A viruses. Co-crystal structures with hemagglutinin revealed that each class utilized characteristic germline genes and convergent sequence motifs to recognize overlapping epitopes in the hemagglutinin stem. All six analyzed subjects had sequences from at least one multidonor class, and-in half the subjects-multidonor-class sequences were recovered from >40% of cross-reactive B cells. By contrast, these multidonor-class sequences were rare in published antibody datasets. Vaccination with a divergent hemagglutinin can thus increase the frequency of B cells encoding broad influenza A-neutralizing antibodies. We propose the sequence signature-quantified prevalence of these B cells as a metric to guide universal influenza A immunization strategies.
Published by Elsevier Inc.
UNLABELLED - Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV2) is widespread and responsible for severe epidemics. While primary DENV2 infections stimulate serotype-specific protective responses, a leading vaccine failed to induce a similar protective response. Using human monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) isolated from dengue cases and structure-guided design of a chimeric DENV, here we describe the major site on the DENV2 envelope (E) protein targeted by neutralizing antibodies. DENV2-specific neutralizing hMAb 2D22 binds to a quaternary structure epitope. We engineered and recovered a recombinant DENV4 that displayed the 2D22 epitope. DENV2 neutralizing antibodies in people exposed to infection or a live vaccine tracked with the 2D22 epitope on the DENV4/2 chimera. The chimera remained sensitive to DENV4 antibodies, indicating that the major neutralizing epitopes on DENV2 and -4 are at different sites. The ability to transplant a complex epitope between DENV serotypes demonstrates a hitherto underappreciated structural flexibility in flaviviruses, which could be harnessed to develop new vaccines and diagnostics.
IMPORTANCE - Dengue virus causes fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue serotype 2 (DENV2) is widespread and frequently responsible for severe epidemics. Natural DENV2 infections stimulate serotype-specific neutralizing antibodies, but a leading DENV vaccine did not induce a similar protective response. While groups have identified epitopes of single monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), the molecular basis of DENV2 neutralization by polyclonal human immune sera is unknown. Using a recombinant DENV displaying serotype 2 epitopes, here we map the main target of DENV2 polyclonal neutralizing antibodies induced by natural infection and a live DENV2 vaccine candidate. Proper display of the epitope required the assembly of viral envelope proteins into higher-order structures present on intact virions. Despite the complexity of the epitope, it was possible to transplant the epitope between DENV serotypes. Our findings have immediate implications for evaluating dengue vaccines in the pipeline as well as designing next-generation vaccines.
Copyright © 2015 Gallichotte et al.
UNLABELLED - Following natural dengue virus (DENV) infection, humans produce some antibodies that recognize only the serotype of infection (type specific) and others that cross-react with all four serotypes (cross-reactive). Recent studies with human antibodies indicate that type-specific antibodies at high concentrations are often strongly neutralizing in vitro and protective in animal models. In general, cross-reactive antibodies are poorly neutralizing and can enhance the ability of DENV to infect Fc receptor-bearing cells under some conditions. Type-specific antibodies at low concentrations also may enhance infection. There is an urgent need to determine whether there are conserved antigenic sites that can be recognized by cross-reactive potently neutralizing antibodies. Here, we describe the isolation of a large panel of naturally occurring human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed to the DENV domain II fusion loop (FL) envelope protein region from subjects following vaccination or natural infection. Most of the FL-specific antibodies exhibited a conventional phenotype, characterized by low-potency neutralizing function and antibody-dependent enhancing activity. One clone, however, recognized the bc loop of domain II adjacent to the FL and exhibited a unique phenotype of ultrahigh potency, neutralizing all four serotypes better than any other previously described MAb recognizing this region. This antibody not only neutralized DENV effectively but also competed for binding against the more prevalent poor-quality antibodies whose binding was focused on the FL. The 1C19 human antibody could be a promising component of a preventative or therapeutic intervention. Furthermore, the unique epitope revealed by 1C19 suggests a focus for rational vaccine design based on novel immunogens presenting cross-reactive neutralizing determinants.
IMPORTANCE - With no effective vaccine available, the incidence of dengue virus (DENV) infections worldwide continues to rise, with more than 390 million infections estimated to occur each year. Due to the unique roles that antibodies are postulated to play in the pathogenesis of DENV infection and disease, there is consensus that a successful DENV vaccine must protect against all four serotypes. If conserved epitopes recognized by naturally occurring potently cross-neutralizing human antibodies could be identified, monovalent subunit vaccine preparations might be developed. We characterized 30 DENV cross-neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and identified one (1C19) that recognized a novel conserved site, known as the bc loop. This antibody has several desirable features, as it neutralizes DENV effectively and competes for binding against the more common low-potency fusion loop (FL) antibodies, which are believed to contribute to antibody-mediated disease. To our knowledge, this is the first description of a potent serotype cross-neutralizing human antibody to DENV.
We generated from a single blood sample five independent human mAbs that recognized the Sa antigenic site on the head of influenza hemagglutinin and exhibited inhibitory activity against a broad panel of H1N1 strains. All five Abs used the V(H)3-7 and J(H)6 gene segments, but at least four independent clones were identified by junctional analysis. High-throughput sequence analysis of circulating B cells revealed that each of the independent clones were members of complex phylogenetic lineages that had diversified widely using a pattern of progressive diversification through somatic mutation. Unexpectedly, B cells encoding multiple diverging lineages of these clones, including many containing very few mutations in the Ab genes, persisted in the circulation. Conversely, we noted frequent instances of amino acid sequence convergence in the Ag combining sites exhibited by members of independent clones, suggesting a strong selection for optimal binding sites. We suggest that maintenance in circulation of a wide diversity of somatic variants of dominant clones may facilitate recognition of drift variant virus epitopes that occur in rapidly mutating virus Ags, such as influenza hemagglutinin. In fact, these Ab clones recognize an epitope that acquired three glycosylation sites mediating escape from previously isolated human Abs.
The sulphilimine cross-link of the Goodpasture (GP) autoantigen is a novel molecular mechanism (structural constraint) for conferring immune privilege to a site which otherwise is susceptible to structural changes that induce an immunogenic and pathogenic conformation. Perturbation of the assembly or cleavage of the sulphilimine cross-links could be a key factor in the aetiology of Goodpasture's disease in susceptible individuals.
© 2011 The Authors; Clinical and Experimental Immunology © 2011 British Society for Immunology.
The detailed structural basis for the cryptic nature (crypticity) of a B cell epitope harbored by an autoantigen is unknown. Because the immune system may be ignorant of the existence of such "cryptic" epitopes, their exposure could be an important feature in autoimmunity. Here we investigated the structural basis for the crypticity of the epitopes of the Goodpasture autoantigen, the alpha3alpha4alpha5 noncollagenous-1 (NC1) hexamer, a globular domain that connects two triple-helical molecules of the alpha3alpha4alpha5 collagen IV network. The NC1 hexamer occurs in two isoforms as follows: the M-isoform composed of monomer subunits in which the epitopes are accessible to autoantibodies, and the D-isoform composed of both monomer and dimer subunits in which the epitopes are cryptic. The D-isoform was characterized with respect to quaternary structure, as revealed by mass spectrometry of dimer subunits, homology modeling, and molecular dynamics simulation. The results revealed that the D-isoform contains two kinds of cross-links as follows: S-hydroxylysyl-methionine and S-lysyl-methionine cross-links, which stabilize the alpha3alpha5-heterodimers and alpha4alpha4-homodimers, respectively. Construction and analysis of a three-dimensional model of the D-isoform of the alpha3alpha4alpha5 NC1 hexamer revealed that crypticity is a consequence of the following: (a) sequestration of key residues between neighboring subunits that are stabilized by domain-swapping interactions, and (b) by cross-linking of subunits at the trimer-trimer interface, which stabilizes the structural integrity of the NC1 hexamer and protects against binding of autoantibodies. The sequestrated epitopes and cross-linked subunits represent a novel structural mechanism for conferring immune privilege at the level of quaternary structure. Perturbation of the quaternary structure may be a key factor in the etiology of Goodpasture disease.
Detailed characterization of Ag-specific naive and memory B cell Ab repertoires elucidates the molecular basis for the generation of Ab diversity and the optimization of Ab structures that bind microbial Ags. In this study, we analyzed the immunophenotype and VH gene repertoire of rotavirus (RV) VP6-specific B cells in three circulating naive or memory B cell subsets (CD19+IgD+CD27-, CD19+IgD+CD27+, or CD19+IgD-CD27+) at the single-cell level. We aimed to investigate the influence of antigenic exposure on the molecular features of the two RV-specific memory B cell subsets. We found an increased frequency of CD19+IgD+CD27+ unclass-switched memory B cells and a low frequency of somatic mutations in CD19+IgD-CD27+ class-switched memory B cells in RV-specific memory B cells, suggesting a reduced frequency of isotype switching and somatic mutation in RV VP6-specific memory B cells compared with other memory B cells. Furthermore, we found that dominance of the VH1-46 gene segment was a prominent feature in the VH gene repertoire of RV VP6-specific naive B cells, but this dominance was reduced in memory B cells. Increased diversity in the VH gene repertoire of the two memory B cell groups derived from broader usage of VH gene segments, increased junctional diversity that was introduced by differential TdT activities, and somatic hypermutation.
Anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) antibody nephritis is caused by an autoimmune or alloimmune reaction to the NC1 domains of alpha3alpha4alpha5(IV) collagen. Some patients with X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) develop post-transplant nephritis mediated by pathogenic anti-GBM alloantibodies to collagen IV chains present in the renal allograft but absent from the tissues of the patient. In this work, the epitopes targeted by alloantibodies from these patients were identified and characterized. All XLAS alloantibodies recognized conformational epitopes in the NC1 domain of alpha5(IV) collagen, which were mapped using chimeric alpha1/alpha5 NC1 domains expressed in mammalian cells. Allograft-eluted alloantibodies mainly targeted two conformational alloepitopes mapping to alpha5NC1 residues 1-45 and 114-168. These regions also encompassed the major epitopes of circulating XLAS alloantibodies, which in some patients additionally targeted alpha5NC1 residues 169-229. Both kidney-eluted and circulating alloantibodies to alpha5NC1 distinctively targeted epitopes accessible in the alpha3alpha4alpha5NC1 hexamers of human GBM, unlike anti-GBM autoantibodies, which targeted sequestered alpha3NC1 epitopes. The results identify two immunodominant alpha5NC1 epitopes as major alloantigenic sites of alpha3alpha4alpha5(IV) collagen specifically implicated in the pathogenesis of post-transplant nephritis in XLAS patients. The contrast between the accessibility of these alloepitopes and the crypticity of autoepitopes indicates that distinct molecular forms of antigen may initiate the immunopathogenic processes in the two forms of anti-GBM disease.
Helicobacter pylori vacuolating cytotoxin (VacA) is a secreted protein that induces vacuolation of epithelial cells. To study VacA structure and function, we immunized mice with purified type s1-m1 VacA from H. pylori strain 60190 and generated a panel of 10 immunoglobulin G1kappa anti-VacA monoclonal antibodies. All of the antibodies reacted with purified native VacA but not with denatured VacA, suggesting that these antibodies react with conformational epitopes. Seven of the antibodies reacted with both native and acid-treated VacA, which suggests that epitopes present on both oligomeric and monomeric forms of the toxin were recognized. Two monoclonal antibodies, both reactive with epitopes formed by amino acids in the carboxy-terminal portion of VacA (amino acids 685 to 821), neutralized the cytotoxic activity of type s1-m1 VacA when toxin and antibody were mixed prior to cell contact but failed to neutralize the cytotoxic activity of type s1-m2 VacA. Only 3 of the 10 antibodies consistently recognized type s1-m1 VacA toxins from multiple H. pylori strains, and none of the antibodies recognized type s2-m2 VacA toxins. These results indicate that there is considerable antigenic diversity among VacA toxins produced by different H. pylori strains.
NF-kappaB has been implicated in the development, activation, and function of B and T lymphocytes. We have evaluated the in vivo effects of deletion of IkappaB-alpha, a major inhibitor of NF-kappaB, on lymphocyte development, proliferation, and function. To elucidate the long term role of IkappaB-alpha in lymphocytes, fetal liver cells of 14.5-day-old IkappaB-alpha(-/-) or wild-type embryos were transplanted into irradiated recombinase-activating gene-2-deficient mice. Within 4 wk, the IkappaB-alpha(-/-) fetal liver cells reconstitute mature B and T cell populations in the recipients comparable to those produced by wild-type fetal liver cells. However, the proliferative responses of IkappaB-alpha(-/-) B cells are enhanced, whereas those of IkappaB-alpha(-/-) T cells are reduced. The levels of IgG1, IgG2a, IgA, and IgE produced by IkappaB-alpha(-/-) B cells are elevated relative to those produced by IkappaB-alpha(+/+) or IkappaB-alpha(+/-). Moreover, the specific immune responses to OVA and the generation of germinal centers are impaired in recipients of IkappaB-alpha(-/-) fetal liver cells. These results indicate that IkappaB-alpha plays a vital role in signal transduction pathways regulating lymphocyte proliferation and also in the production of specific Ig isotypes.