A neutralizing monoclonal antibody targeting the acid-sensitive region in chikungunya virus E2 protects from disease.
ABSTRACT: The mosquito-borne alphavirus, chikungunya virus (CHIKV), has recently reemerged, producing the largest epidemic ever recorded for this virus, with up to 6.5 million cases of acute and chronic rheumatic disease. There are currently no licensed vaccines for CHIKV and current anti-inflammatory drug treatment is often inadequate. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of two human monoclonal antibodies, C9 and E8, from CHIKV infected and recovered individuals. C9 was determined to be a potent virus neutralizing antibody and a biosensor antibody binding study demonstrated it recognized residues on intact CHIKV VLPs. Shotgun mutagenesis alanine scanning of 98 percent of the residues in the E1 and E2 glycoproteins of CHIKV envelope showed that the epitope bound by C9 included amino-acid 162 in the acid-sensitive region (ASR) of the CHIKV E2 glycoprotein. The ASR is critical for the rearrangement of CHIKV E2 during fusion and viral entry into host cells, and we predict that C9 prevents these events from occurring. When used prophylactically in a CHIKV mouse model, C9 completely protected against CHIKV viremia and arthritis. We also observed that when administered therapeutically at 8 or 18 hours post-CHIKV challenge, C9 gave 100% protection in a pathogenic mouse model. Given that targeting this novel neutralizing epitope in E2 can potently protect both in vitro and in vivo, it is likely to be an important region both for future antibody and vaccine-based interventions against CHIKV.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging mosquito-borne virus which causes epidemics of fever, severe joint pain and rash. Between 2005 and 2010, the East/Central/South African (ECSA) genotype was responsible for global explosive outbreaks across India, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. From late 2013, Asian genotype CHIKV has caused outbreaks in the Americas. The characteristics of cross-antibody efficacy and epitopes are poorly understood.We characterized human immune sera collected during two independent outbreaks in Malaysia of the Asian genotype in 2006 and the ECSA genotype in 2008-2010. Neutralizing capacity was analyzed against representative clinical isolates as well as viruses rescued from infectious clones of ECSA and Asian CHIKV. Using whole virus antigen and recombinant E1 and E2 envelope glycoproteins, we further investigated antibody binding sites, epitopes, and antibody titers. Both ECSA and Asian sera demonstrated stronger neutralizing capacity against the ECSA genotype, which corresponded to strong epitope-antibody interaction. ECSA serum targeted conformational epitope sites in the E1-E2 glycoprotein, and E1-E211K, E2-I2T, E2-H5N, E2-G118S and E2-S194G are key amino acids that enhance cross-neutralizing efficacy. As for Asian serum, the antibodies targeting E2 glycoprotein correlated with neutralizing efficacy, and I2T, H5N, G118S and S194G altered and improved the neutralization profile. Rabbit polyclonal antibody against the N-terminal linear neutralizing epitope from the ECSA sequence has reduced binding capacity and neutralization efficacy against Asian CHIKV. These findings imply that the choice of vaccine strain may impact cross-protection against different genotypes.Immune serum from humans infected with CHIKV of either ECSA or Asian genotypes showed differences in binding and neutralization characteristics. These findings have implications for the continued outbreaks of co-circulating CHIKV genotypes and effective design of vaccines and diagnostic serological assays.
Project description:We evaluated the mechanism by which neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies inhibit chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection. Potently neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) blocked infection at multiple steps of the virus life cycle, including entry and release. Cryo-electron microscopy structures of Fab fragments of two human NAbs and chikungunya virus-like particles showed a binding footprint that spanned independent domains on neighboring E2 subunits within one viral spike, suggesting a mechanism for inhibiting low-pH-dependent membrane fusion. Detailed epitope mapping identified amino acid E2-W64 as a critical interaction residue. An escape mutation (E2-W64G) at this residue rendered CHIKV attenuated in mice. Consistent with these data, CHIKV-E2-W64G failed to emerge in vivo under the selection pressure of one of the NAbs, IM-CKV063. As our study suggests that antibodies engaging the residue E2-W64 can potently inhibit CHIKV at multiple stages of infection, antibody-based therapies or immunogens that target this region might have protective value.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and related arboviruses have been responsible for large epidemic outbreaks with serious economic and social impact. The immune mechanisms, which control viral multiplication and dissemination, are not yet known. Here, we studied the antibody response against the CHIKV surface antigens in infected patients. With plasma samples obtained during the early convalescent phase, we showed that the naturally-acquired IgG response is dominated by IgG3 antibodies specific mostly for a single linear epitope 'E2EP3'. E2EP3 is located at the N-terminus of the E2 glycoprotein and prominently exposed on the viral envelope. E2EP3-specific antibodies are neutralizing and their removal from the plasma reduced the CHIKV-specific antibody titer by up to 80%. Screening of E2EP3 across different patient cohorts and in non-human primates demonstrated the value of this epitope as a good serology detection marker for CHIKV infection already at an early stage. Mice vaccinated by E2EP3 peptides were protected against CHIKV with reduced viremia and joint inflammation, providing a pre-clinical basis for the design of effective vaccine against arthralgia-inducing CHIKV and other alphaviruses.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a reemerging alphavirus that causes a debilitating arthritic disease and infects millions of people and for which no specific treatment is available. Like many alphaviruses, the structural targets on CHIKV that elicit a protective humoral immune response in humans are poorly defined. Here we used phage display against virus-like particles (VLPs) to isolate seven human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the CHIKV envelope glycoproteins E2 and E1. One MAb, IM-CKV063, was highly neutralizing (50% inhibitory concentration, 7.4 ng/ml), demonstrated high-affinity binding (320 pM), and was capable of therapeutic and prophylactic protection in multiple animal models up to 24 h postexposure. Epitope mapping using a comprehensive shotgun mutagenesis library of 910 mutants with E2/E1 alanine mutations demonstrated that IM-CKV063 binds to an intersubunit conformational epitope on domain A, a functionally important region of E2. MAbs against the highly conserved fusion loop have not previously been reported but were also isolated in our studies. Fusion loop MAbs were broadly cross-reactive against diverse alphaviruses but were nonneutralizing. Fusion loop MAb reactivity was affected by temperature and reactivity conditions, suggesting that the fusion loop is hidden in infectious virions. Visualization of the binding sites of 15 different MAbs on the structure of E2/E1 revealed that all epitopes are located at the membrane-distal region of the E2/E1 spike. Interestingly, epitopes on the exposed topmost and outer surfaces of the E2/E1 trimer structure were neutralizing, whereas epitopes facing the interior of the trimer were not, providing a rationale for vaccine design and therapeutic MAb development using the intact CHIKV E2/E1 trimer.CHIKV is the most important alphavirus affecting humans, resulting in a chronic arthritic condition that can persist for months or years. In recent years, millions of people have been infected globally, and the spread of CHIKV to the Americas is now beginning, with over 100,000 cases occurring in the Caribbean within 6 months of its arrival. Our study reports on seven human MAbs against the CHIKV envelope, including a highly protective MAb and rarely isolated fusion loop MAbs. Epitope mapping of these MAbs demonstrates how some E2/E1 epitopes are exposed or hidden from the human immune system and suggests a structural mechanism by which these MAbs protect (or fail to protect) against CHIKV infection. Our results suggest that the membrane-distal end of CHIKV E2/E1 is the primary target for the humoral immune response to CHIKV, and antibodies targeting the exposed topmost and outer surfaces of the E2/E1 trimer determine the neutralizing efficacy of this response.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus which causes chronic and incapacitating arthralgia in humans. Although previous studies have shown that antibodies against the virus are produced during and after infection, the fine specificity of the antibody response against CHIKV is not known. Here, using plasma from patients at different times postinfection, we characterized the antibody response against various proteins of the virus. We have shown that the E2 and E3 glycoproteins and the capsid and nsP3 proteins are targets of the anti-CHIKV antibody response. Moreover, we have identified the different regions in these proteins which contain the linear epitopes recognized by the anti-CHIKV antibodies and determined their structural localization. Data also illustrated the effect of a single K(252)Q amino acid change at the E2 glycoprotein that was able to influence antibody binding and interaction between the antibodies and epitope because of the changes of epitope-antibody binding capacity. This study provides important knowledge that will not only aid in the understanding of the immune response to CHIKV infection but also provide new knowledge in the design of modern vaccine development. Furthermore, these pathogen-specific epitopes could be used for future seroepidemiological studies that will unravel the molecular mechanisms of human immunity and protection from CHIKV disease.
Project description:The mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes high fever and severe joint pain in humans. It is expected to spread in the future to Europe and has recently reached the USA due to globalization, climate change and vector switch. Despite this, little is known about the virus life cycle and, so far, there is no specific treatment or vaccination against Chikungunya infections. We aimed here to identify small antigenic determinants of the CHIKV E2 protein able to induce neutralizing immune responses.E2 enables attachment of the virus to target cells and a humoral immune response against E2 should protect from CHIKV infections. Seven recombinant proteins derived from E2 and consisting of linear and/or structural antigens were created, and were expressed in and purified from E. coli. BALB/c mice were vaccinated with these recombinant proteins and the mouse sera were screened for neutralizing antibodies. Whereas a linear N-terminally exposed peptide (L) and surface-exposed parts of the E2 domain A (sA) alone did not induce neutralizing antibodies, a construct containing domain B and a part of the ?-ribbon (called B+) was sufficient to induce neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore, domain sA fused to B+ (sAB+) induced the highest amount of neutralizing antibodies. Therefore, the construct sAB+ was used to generate a recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), MVA-CHIKV-sAB+. Mice were vaccinated with MVA-CHIKV-sAB+ and/or the recombinant protein sAB+ and were subsequently challenged with wild-type CHIKV. Whereas four vaccinations with MVA-CHIKV-sAB+ were not sufficient to protect mice from a CHIKV infection, protein vaccination with sAB+ markedly reduced the viral titers of vaccinated mice.The recombinant protein sAB+ contains important structural antigens for a neutralizing antibody response in mice and its formulation with appropriate adjuvants might lead to a future CHIKV vaccine.
Project description:Virus-like particles (VLPs) can be generated from Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), but different strains yield variable quantities of particles. Here, we define the genetic basis for these differences and show that amino acid 234 in E2 substantially affects VLP production. This site is located within the acid-sensitive region (ASR) known to initiate a major conformational change in E1/E2. Selected other mutations in the ASR, or changes in pH, also increased VLP yield. These results demonstrate that the ASR of E2 plays an important role in regulating particle generation.
Project description:We screened a panel of mouse and human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against chikungunya virus and identified several with inhibitory activity against multiple alphaviruses. Passive transfer of broadly neutralizing MAbs protected mice against infection by chikungunya, Mayaro, and O'nyong'nyong alphaviruses. Using alanine-scanning mutagenesis, loss-of-function recombinant proteins and viruses, and multiple functional assays, we determined that broadly neutralizing MAbs block multiple steps in the viral lifecycle, including entry and egress, and bind to a conserved epitope on the B domain of the E2 glycoprotein. A 16 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of a Fab fragment bound to CHIKV E2 B domain provided an explanation for its neutralizing activity. Binding to the B domain was associated with repositioning of the A domain of E2 that enabled cross-linking of neighboring spikes. Our results suggest that B domain antigenic determinants could be targeted for vaccine or antibody therapeutic development against multiple alphaviruses of global concern.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted RNA virus that causes acute febrile infection associated with polyarthralgia in humans. Mechanisms of protective immunity against CHIKV are poorly understood, and no effective therapeutics or vaccines are available. We isolated and characterized human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that neutralize CHIKV infectivity. Among the 30 mAbs isolated, 13 had broad and ultrapotent neutralizing activity (IC50 < 10 ng/ml), and all of these mapped to domain A of the E2 envelope protein. Potent inhibitory mAbs blocked post-attachment steps required for CHIKV membrane fusion, and several were protective in a lethal challenge model in immunocompromised mice, even when administered at late time points after infection. These highly protective mAbs could be considered for prevention or treatment of CHIKV infection, and their epitope location in domain A of E2 could be targeted for rational structure-based vaccine development.
Project description:RNA-sensing toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate innate immunity and regulate anti-viral response. We show here that TLR3 regulates host immunity and the loss of TLR3 aggravates pathology in Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection. Susceptibility to CHIKV infection is markedly increased in human and mouse fibroblasts with defective TLR3 signaling. Up to 100-fold increase in CHIKV load was observed in Tlr3-/- mice, alongside increased virus dissemination and pro-inflammatory myeloid cells infiltration. Infection in bone marrow chimeric mice showed that TLR3-expressing hematopoietic cells are required for effective CHIKV clearance. CHIKV-specific antibodies from Tlr3-/- mice exhibited significantly lower in vitro neutralization capacity, due to altered virus-neutralizing epitope specificity. Finally, SNP genotyping analysis of CHIKF patients on TLR3 identified SNP rs6552950 to be associated with disease severity and CHIKV-specific neutralizing antibody response. These results demonstrate a key role for TLR3-mediated antibody response to CHIKV infection, virus replication and pathology, providing a basis for future development of immunotherapeutics in vaccine development.