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The globular head of the trimeric influenza hemagglutinin (HA) contains the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and is the target of potently neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with high in vivo activity. In general, these mAbs are induced easily by vaccination, but only infrequently display cross-neutralizing activity against antigenic drift variants or even against HA molecules from viruses of heterologous subtypes. Recently, the atomic resolution structures of several such antibodies in complex with HA have been determined by X-ray crystallography. Not surprisingly, cross-reactive globular head antibodies target, at least partially, the conserved RBD. The cross-reactive potential of such mAbs is limited by contacts of hypervariable HA residues outside the conserved RBD. The RBD of H2 HA seems especially immunogenic. Increasing the immunogenicity of the RBD of other HA subtypes may be a step toward a universal influenza vaccine. The germ line-encoded Phe54 residue of the CDR-H2 of the VH1-69 germ line sequence appears to be ideally suited not only to reach into a conserved, hydrophobic pocket on the HA stem, but also to reach into the conserved, hydrophobic pocket that is the RBD. We have cloned antibodies from different individuals that are encoded by the VH1-69 germ line gene segment that contact the universally conserved Trp153 on the bottom of the RBD. These antibodies serve as further evidence of antibody genetic sequence convergence across individuals.
The filoviruses, including Marburg and Ebola, express a single glycoprotein on their surface, termed GP, which is responsible for attachment and entry of target cells. Filovirus GPs differ by up to 70% in protein sequence, and no antibodies are yet described that cross-react among them. Here, we present the 3.6 Å crystal structure of Marburg virus GP in complex with a cross-reactive antibody from a human survivor, and a lower resolution structure of the antibody bound to Ebola virus GP. The antibody, MR78, recognizes a GP1 epitope conserved across the filovirus family, which likely represents the binding site of their NPC1 receptor. Indeed, MR78 blocks binding of the essential NPC1 domain C. These structures and additional small-angle X-ray scattering of mucin-containing MARV and EBOV GPs suggest why such antibodies were not previously elicited in studies of Ebola virus, and provide critical templates for development of immunotherapeutics and inhibitors of entry.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dengue viruses (DENV) are mosquito-borne flaviviruses of global importance. DENV exist as four serotypes, DENV1-DENV4. Following a primary infection, individuals produce DENV-specific antibodies that bind only to the serotype of infection and other antibodies that cross-react with two or more serotypes. People exposed to a secondary DENV infection with another serotype are at greater risk of developing more severe forms of dengue disease. The increased risk of severe dengue in people experiencing repeat DENV infections appear to be due, at least in part, to the ability of pre-existing serotype cross-reactive antibodies to form virus-antibody complexes that can productively infect Fcγ receptor-bearing target cells. While the theory of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is supported by several human and small animal model studies, the specific viral antigens and epitopes recognized by enhancing human antibodies after natural infections have not been fully defined. We used antibody-depletion techniques to remove DENV-specific antibody sub-populations from primary DENV-immune human sera. The effects of removing specific antibody populations on ADE were tested both in vitro using K562 cells and in vivo using the AG129 mouse model. Removal of serotype cross-reactive antibodies ablated enhancement of heterotypic virus infection in vitro and antibody-enhanced mortality in vivo. Further depletion studies using recombinant viral antigens showed that although the removal of DENV E-specific antibodies using recombinant E (rE) protein resulted in a partial reduction in DENV enhancement, there was a significant residual enhancement remaining. Competition ADE studies using prM-specific Fab fragments in human immune sera showed that both rE-specific and prM-specific antibodies in primary DENV-immune sera significantly contribute to enhancement of heterotypic DENV infection in vitro. Identification of the targets of DENV-enhancing antibodies should contribute to the development of safe, non-enhancing vaccines against dengue.
UNLABELLED - Natural dengue virus (DENV) infection in humans induces antibodies (Abs) that neutralize the serotype of infection in a potent and type-specific manner; however, most Abs generated in response to infection are serotype cross-reactive and poorly neutralizing. Such cross-reactive Abs may enhance disease during subsequent infection with a virus of a different DENV serotype. Previous screening assays for DENV-specific human B cells and antibodies, using viral and recombinant antigens, mainly led to the isolation of dominant nonneutralizing B cell clones. To improve upon our ability to recover and study rare but durable and potently neutralizing DENV-specific Abs, we isolated human DENV-specific B cells by using a primary screen of binding to live virus, followed by a secondary screen with a high-throughput, flow cytometry-based neutralization assay to identify DENV-specific B cell lines prior to generation of hybridomas. Using this strategy, we identified several new classes of serotype-specific and serotype-cross-neutralizing anti-DENV monoclonal Abs (MAbs), including ultrapotent inhibitory antibodies with neutralizing activity concentrations of <10 ng/ml. We isolated serotype-specific neutralizing Abs that target diverse regions of the E protein, including epitopes present only on the intact, fully assembled viral particle. We also isolated a number of serotype-cross-neutralizing MAbs, most of which recognized a region in E protein domain I/II containing the fusion loop. These data provide insights into targets of the protective Ab-mediated immune response to natural DENV infection, which will prove valuable in the design and testing of new experimental DENV vaccines.
IMPORTANCE - Dengue virus infection is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases and occurs in most countries of the world. Infection of humans with dengue virus induces a small number of antibodies that inhibit the infecting strain but also induces a large number of antibodies that can bind but do not inhibit dengue virus strains of other serotypes. We used a focused screening strategy to discover a large number of rare potently inhibiting antibodies, and we mapped the regions on the virus that were recognized by such antibodies. Our studies revealed that humans have the potential to generate very potent antibodies directed to diverse regions of the dengue virus surface protein. These studies provide important new information about protection from dengue virus infection that will be useful in the design and testing of new experimental dengue vaccines for humans.
Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
BACKGROUND - Heat-shock protein70 (HSP70) are intracellular protein chaperones, with emerging evidence of their association with various diseases. We have previously reported significantly elevated plasma-HSP70 (pHSP70) in pancreatic cancer. Current methods of pHSP70 isolation are ELISA-based which lack specificity due to cross-reactivity by similarities in the amino-acid sequence in regions of the protein backbone resulting in overestimated HSP70 value.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - This study was undertaken to develop a methodology to capture all isoforms of pHSP70, while further defining their tyrosine and serine phosphorylation status.
RESULTS - The methodology included gel electrophoresis on centrifuged supernatant obtained from plasma incubated with HSP70 antibody-coupled beads. After blocking non-specific binding sites, blots were immunostained with monoclonal-antibody specific for human-HSP70, phosphoserine and phosphotyrosine.
CONCLUSIONS - Our novel immunocapture approach has distinct advantages over the commercially available methods of pHSP70 quantification by allowing isolation of molecular aggregates of HSP70 with additional ability to precisely distinguish phosphorylation state of HSP70 molecules at serine and tyrosine residues.
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.
BACKGROUND - Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in 2012, causing severe acute respiratory disease and pneumonia, with 44% mortality among 136 cases to date. Design of vaccines to limit the virus spread or diagnostic tests to track newly emerging strains requires knowledge of antigenic and serologic relationships between MERS-CoV and other CoVs.
METHODS - Using synthetic genomics and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicons (VRPs) expressing spike and nucleocapsid proteins from MERS-CoV and other human and bat CoVs, we characterize the antigenic responses (using Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and serologic responses (using neutralization assays) against 2 MERS-CoV isolates in comparison with those of other human and bat CoVs.
RESULTS - Serologic and neutralization responses against the spike glycoprotein were primarily strain specific, with a very low level of cross-reactivity within or across subgroups. CoV N proteins within but not across subgroups share cross-reactive epitopes with MERS-CoV isolates. Our findings were validated using a convalescent-phase serum specimen from a patient infected with MERS-CoV (NA 01) and human antiserum against SARS-CoV, human CoV NL63, and human CoV OC43.
CONCLUSIONS - Vaccine design for emerging CoVs should involve chimeric spike protein containing neutralizing epitopes from multiple virus strains across subgroups to reduce immune pathology, and a diagnostic platform should include a panel of nucleocapsid and spike proteins from phylogenetically distinct CoVs.
The immunopathogenesis of severe dengue is poorly understood, but there is concern that induction of cross-reactive nonneutralizing antibodies by infection or vaccination may increase the likelihood of severe disease during a subsequent infection. We generated a total of 63 new human monoclonal antibodies to compare the B-cell response of subjects who received the National Institutes of Health live attenuated dengue vaccine rDEN1Δ30 to that of subjects following symptomatic primary infection with DENV1. Both infection and vaccination induced serum neutralizing antibodies and DENV1-reactive peripheral blood B cells, but the magnitude of induction was lower in vaccinated individuals. Serotype cross-reactive weakly neutralizing antibodies dominated the response in both vaccinated and naturally infected subjects. Antigen specificities were very similar, with a slightly greater percentage of antibodies targeting E protein domain I/II than domain III. These data shed light on the similarity of human B-cell response to live attenuated DENV vaccine or natural infection.
Symptomatic dengue virus infection ranges in disease severity from an influenza-like illness to life-threatening shock. One model of the mechanism underlying severe disease proposes that weakly neutralizing, dengue serotype cross-reactive antibodies induced during a primary infection facilitate virus entry into Fc receptor-bearing cells during a subsequent secondary infection, increasing viral replication and the release of cytokines and vasoactive mediators, culminating in shock. This process has been termed antibody-dependent enhancement of infection and has significantly hindered vaccine development. Much of our understanding of this process has come from studies using mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs); however, antibody responses in mice typically exhibit less complexity than those in humans. A better understanding of the humoral immune response to natural dengue virus infection in humans is sorely needed. Using a high-efficiency human hybridoma technology, we isolated 37 hybridomas secreting human MAbs to dengue viruses from 12 subjects years or even decades following primary or secondary infection. The majority of the human antibodies recovered were broadly cross-reactive, directed against either envelope or premembrane proteins, and capable of enhancement of infection in vitro; few exhibited serotype-specific binding or potent neutralizing activity. Memory B cells encoding enhancing antibodies predominated in the circulation, even two or more decades following infection. Mapping the epitopes and activity of naturally occurring dengue antibodies should prove valuable in determining whether the enhancing and neutralizing activity of antibodies can be separated. Such principles could be used in the rational design of vaccines that enhance the induction of neutralizing antibodies, while lowering the risk of dengue shock syndrome.
The conserved influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) stem domain elicits cross-reactive antibodies, but epitopes in the globular head typically elicit strain-specific responses because of the hypervariability of this region. We isolated human monoclonal antibody 5J8, which neutralized a broad spectrum of 20th century H1N1 viruses and the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus. Fine mapping of the interaction unexpectedly revealed a novel epitope between the receptor-binding pocket and the Ca₂ antigenic site on HA. This antibody exposes a new mechanism underlying broad immunity against H1N1 influenza viruses and identifies a conserved epitope that might be incorporated into engineered H1 virus vaccines.