A high-affinity native human antibody neutralizes human cytomegalovirus infection of diverse cell types.
ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common infection causing poor outcomes among transplant recipients. Maternal infection and transplacental transmission are major causes of permanent birth defects. Although no active vaccines to prevent HCMV infection have been approved, passive immunization with HCMV-specific immunoglobulin has shown promise in the treatment of both transplant and congenital indications. Antibodies targeting the viral glycoprotein B (gB) surface protein are known to neutralize HCMV infectivity, with high-affinity binding being a desirable trait, both to compete with low-affinity antibodies that promote the transmission of virus across the placenta and to displace nonneutralizing antibodies binding nearby epitopes. Using a miniaturized screening technology to characterize secreted IgG from single human B lymphocytes, 30 antibodies directed against gB were previously cloned. The most potent clone, TRL345, is described here. Its measured affinity was 1 pM for the highly conserved site I of the AD-2 epitope of gB. Strain-independent neutralization was confirmed for 15 primary HCMV clinical isolates. TRL345 prevented HCMV infection of placental fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, and epithelial cells, and it inhibited postinfection HCMV spread in epithelial cells. The potential utility for preventing congenital transmission is supported by the blockage of HCMV infection of placental cell types central to virus transmission to the fetus, including differentiating cytotrophoblasts, trophoblast progenitor cells, and placental fibroblasts. Further, TRL345 was effective at controlling an ex vivo infection of human placental anchoring villi. TRL345 has been utilized on a commercial scale and is a candidate for clinical evaluation.
Project description:Hyperimmune globulin (HIG) has shown efficacy against human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) for both transplant and congenital transmission indications. Replicating that activity with a monoclonal antibody (mAb) offers the potential for improved consistency in manufacturing, lower infusion volume, and improved pharmacokinetics, as well as reduced risk of off-target reactivity leading to toxicity. HCMV pathology is linked to its broad cell tropism. The glycoprotein B (gB) envelope protein is important for infections in all cell types. Within gB, the antigenic determinant (AD)-2 Site I is qualitatively more highly-conserved than any other region of the virus. TRL345, a high affinity (Kd = 50 pM) native human mAb to this site, has shown efficacy in neutralizing the infection of fibroblasts, endothelial and epithelial cells, as well as specialized placental cells including trophoblast progenitor cells. It has also been shown to block the infection of placental fragments grown ex vivo, and to reduce syncytial spread in fibroblasts in vitro. Manufacturing and toxicology preparation for filing an IND (investigational new drug) application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are expected to be completed in mid-2019.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is one of the main causative agents of congenital viral infection in neonates. HCMV infection also causes serious morbidity and mortality among organ transplant patients. Glycoprotein B (gB) is a major target for HCMV neutralizing antibodies, yet the underlying neutralization mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here we report that 3-25, a gB-specific monoclonal antibody previously isolated from a healthy HCMV-positive donor, efficiently neutralized 14 HCMV strains in both ARPE-19 cells and MRC-5 cells. The core epitope of 3-25 was mapped to a highly conserved linear epitope on antigenic domain 2 (AD-2) of gB. A 1.8 Å crystal structure of 3-25 Fab in complex with the peptide epitope revealed the molecular determinants of 3-25 binding to gB at atomic resolution. Negative-staining electron microscopy (EM) 3D reconstruction of 3-25 Fab in complex with de-glycosylated postfusion gB showed that 3-25 Fab fully occupied the gB trimer at the N-terminus with flexible binding angles. Functionally, 3-25 efficiently inhibited HCMV infection at a post-attachment step by interfering with viral membrane fusion, and restricted post-infection viral spreading in ARPE-19 cells. Interestingly, bivalency was required for HCMV neutralization by AD-2 specific antibody 3-25 but not the AD-4 specific antibody LJP538. In contrast, bivalency was not required for HCMV binding by both antibodies. Taken together, our results reveal the structural basis of gB recognition by 3-25 and demonstrate that inhibition of viral membrane fusion and a requirement of bivalency may be common for gB AD-2 specific neutralizing antibody.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the major viral etiology of congenital infection and birth defects. Fetal transmission is high (30%-40%) in primary maternal infection, and symptomatic babies have permanent neurological, hearing, and vision defects. Recurrent infection is infrequently transmitted (2%) and largely asymptomatic. Congenital infection is also associated with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).To investigate possible underlying HCMV infection in cases of idiopathic IUGR, we studied maternal and cord sera and placentas from 19 pregnancies. Anti-HCMV antibodies, hypoxia-related factors, and cmvIL-10 were measured in sera. Placental biopsy specimens were examined for viral DNA, expression of infected cell proteins, and pathology.Among 7 IUGR cases, we identified 2 primary and 3 recurrent HCMV infections. Virus replicated in glandular epithelium and lymphatic endothelium in the decidua, cytotrophoblasts, and smooth muscle cells in blood vessels of floating villi and the chorion. Large fibrinoids with avascular villi, edema, and inflammation were significantly increased. Detection of viral proteins in the amniotic epithelium indicated transmission in 2 cases of IUGR with primary infection and 3 asymptomatic recurrent infections.Congenital HCMV infection impairs placental development and functions and should be considered as an underlying cause of IUGR, regardless of virus transmission to the fetus.
Project description:As human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a common cause of disease in newborns and transplant recipients, developing an HCMV vaccine is considered a major public health priority. Yet an HCMV vaccine candidate remains elusive. Although the precise HCMV immune correlates of protection are unclear, both humoral and cellular immune responses have been implicated in protection against HCMV infection and disease. Here we describe a vaccine approach based on the well-characterized modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector to stimulate robust HCMV humoral and cellular immune responses by an antigen combination composed of the envelope pentamer complex (PC), glycoprotein B (gB), and phosphoprotein 65 (pp65). We show that in mice, multiantigenic MVA vaccine vectors simultaneously expressing all five PC subunits, gB, and pp65 elicit potent complement-independent and complement-dependent HCMV neutralizing antibodies as well as mouse and human MHC-restricted, polyfunctional T cell responses by the individual antigens. In addition, we demonstrate that the PC/gB antigen combination of these multiantigenic MVA vectors can enhance the stimulation of humoral immune responses that mediate in vitro neutralization of different HCMV strains and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. These results support the use of MVA to develop a multiantigenic vaccine candidate for controlling HCMV infection and disease in different target populations, such as pregnant women and transplant recipients.IMPORTANCE The development of a human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) vaccine to prevent congenital disease and transplantation-related complications is an unmet medical need. While many HCMV vaccine candidates have been developed, partial success in preventing or controlling HCMV infection in women of childbearing age and transplant recipients has been observed with an approach based on envelope glycoprotein B (gB). We introduce a novel vaccine strategy based on the clinically deployable modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vaccine vector to elicit potent humoral and cellular immune responses by multiple immunodominant HCMV antigens, including gB, phosphoprotein 65, and all five subunits of the pentamer complex. These findings could contribute to development of a multiantigenic vaccine strategy that may afford more protection against HCMV infection and disease than a vaccine approach employing solely gB.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the leading cause of in utero viral infection in the United States. Since congenital HCMV infection can lead to birth defects in newborns, developing a prophylactic vaccine is a high priority. One of the early experimental vaccines, composed of a recombinant glycoprotein B (gB) formulated with MF59 adjuvant, has demonstrated approximately 50% efficacy against HCMV infection in seronegative women. Using immune sera from two gB/MF59 Phase 1 studies in humans we showed that complement can enhance the in vitro HCMV neutralizing potency of antibodies induced by the gB/MF59 vaccination. To characterize this complement-dependent antiviral activity, we analyzed three rabbit non-neutralizing gB monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with different biochemical profiles including epitope specificity. Two of the three mAbs, r272.7 and r210.4, exhibited neutralizing activity when complement was added to the assays, and this complement-dependent antiviral activity was not related to the antibody's affinity to gB but appeared to be associated with their epitope specificities. Moreover, neutralization could only be demonstrated when complement was present at or before viral entry, suggesting that IgG Fc-mediated function was not the basis for this antiviral activity. Lastly, we demonstrated that gB/MF59 immune sera contained antibodies that can cross-compete with r272.7 for gB binding and that the titers of these antibodies correlated with complement-dependent neutralization titers. These results suggested that gB antibodies with certain biochemical properties have neutralizing potency when complement is present and that this complement-dependent antiviral activity may be a part of immune components which conferred protection against HCMV infection by gB/MF59 vaccination.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a dsDNA, enveloped virus, is a ubiquitous pathogen that establishes lifelong latent infections and caused disease in persons with compromised immune systems, e.g., organ transplant recipients or AIDS patients. HCMV is also a leading cause of congenital viral infections in newborns. Entry of HCMV into cells requires the conserved glycoprotein B (gB), thought to function as a fusogen and reported to bind signaling receptors. gB also elicits a strong immune response in humans and induces the production of neutralizing antibodies although most anti-gB Abs are non-neutralizing. Here, we report the crystal structure of the HCMV gB ectodomain determined to 3.6-Å resolution, which is the first atomic-level structure of any betaherpesvirus glycoprotein. The structure of HCMV gB resembles the postfusion structures of HSV-1 and EBV homologs, establishing it as a new member of the class III viral fusogens. Despite structural similarities, each gB has a unique domain arrangement, demonstrating structural plasticity of gB that may accommodate virus-specific functional requirements. The structure illustrates how extensive glycosylation of the gB ectodomain influences antibody recognition. Antigenic sites that elicit neutralizing antibodies are more heavily glycosylated than those that elicit non-neutralizing antibodies, which suggest that HCMV gB uses glycans to shield neutralizing epitopes while exposing non-neutralizing epitopes. This glycosylation pattern may have evolved to direct the immune response towards generation of non-neutralizing antibodies thus helping HCMV to avoid clearance. HCMV gB structure provides a starting point for elucidation of its antigenic and immunogenic properties and aid in the design of recombinant vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) elicits neutralizing antibodies (NAb) of various potencies and cell type specificities to prevent HCMV entry into fibroblasts (FB) and epithelial/endothelial cells (EpC/EnC). NAb targeting the major essential envelope glycoprotein complexes gB and gH/gL inhibit both FB and EpC/EnC entry. In contrast to FB infection, HCMV entry into EpC/EnC is additionally blocked by extremely potent NAb to conformational epitopes of the gH/gL/UL128/130/131A pentamer complex (PC). We recently developed a vaccine concept based on coexpression of all five PC subunits by a single modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vector, termed MVA-PC. Vaccination of mice and rhesus macaques with MVA-PC resulted in a high titer and sustained NAb that blocked EpC/EnC infection and lower-titer NAb that inhibited FB entry. However, antibody function responsible for the neutralizing activity induced by the MVA-PC vaccine is uncharacterized. Here, we demonstrate that MVA-PC elicits NAb with cell type-specific neutralization potency and antigen recognition pattern similar to human NAb targeting conformational and linear epitopes of the UL128/130/131A subunits or gH. In addition, we show that the vaccine-derived PC-specific NAb are significantly more potent than the anti-gH NAb to prevent HCMV spread in EpC and infection of human placental cytotrophoblasts, cell types thought to be of critical importance for HCMV transmission to the fetus. These findings further validate MVA-PC as a clinical vaccine candidate to elicit NAb that resembles those induced during HCMV infection and provide valuable insights into the potency of PC-specific NAb to interfere with HCMV cell-associated spread and infection of key placental cells.As a consequence of the leading role of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in causing permanent birth defects, developing a vaccine against HCMV has been assigned a major public health priority. We have recently introduced a vaccine strategy based on a widely used, safe, and well-characterized poxvirus vector platform to elicit potent and durable neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses targeting the HCMV envelope pentamer complex (PC), which has been suggested as a critical component for a vaccine to prevent congenital HCMV infection. With this work, we confirm that the NAb elicited by the vaccine vector have properties that are similar to those of human NAb isolated from individuals chronically infected with HCMV. In addition, we show that PC-specific NAb have potent ability to prevent infection of key placental cells that HCMV utilizes to cross the fetal-maternal interface, suggesting that NAb targeting the PC may be essential to prevent HCMV vertical transmission.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can cause serious morbidity/mortality in transplant patients, and congenital HCMV infection can lead to birth defects. Developing an effective HCMV vaccine is a high medical priority. One of the challenges to the efforts has been our limited understanding of the viral antigens important for protective antibodies. Receptor-mediated viral entry to endothelial/epithelial cells requires a glycoprotein H (gH) complex comprising five viral proteins (gH, gL, UL128, UL130, and UL131). This gH complex is notably missing from HCMV laboratory strains as well as HCMV vaccines previously evaluated in the clinic. To support a unique vaccine concept based on the pentameric gH complex, we established a panel of 45 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from a rabbit immunized with an experimental vaccine virus in which the expression of the pentameric gH complex was restored. Over one-half (25 of 45) of the mAbs have neutralizing activity. Interestingly, affinity for an antibody to bind virions was not correlated with its ability to neutralize the virus. Genetic analysis of the 45 mAbs based on their heavy- and light-chain sequences identified at least 26 B-cell linage groups characterized by distinct binding or neutralizing properties. Moreover, neutralizing antibodies possessed longer complementarity-determining region 3 for both heavy and light chains than those with no neutralizing activity. Importantly, potent neutralizing mAbs reacted to the pentameric gH complex but not to gB. Thus, the pentameric gH complex is the primary target for antiviral antibodies by vaccination.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most common congenital infection worldwide and the leading infectious cause of neurologic deficits and hearing loss in newborns. Development of a maternal HCMV vaccine to prevent vertical virus transmission is a high priority, yet protective maternal immune responses following acute infection are poorly understood. To characterize the maternal humoral immune response to primary CMV infection, we investigated the plasmablast and early antibody repertoire using a nonhuman primate model with two acutely rhesus CMV (RhCMV)-infected animals-a CD4+ T cell-depleted dam that experienced fetal loss shortly after vertical RhCMV transmission and an immunocompetent dam that did not transmit RhCMV to her infant. Compared to the CD4+ T cell-depleted dam that experienced fetal loss, the immunocompetent, nontransmitting dam had a more rapid and robust plasmablast response that produced a high proportion of RhCMV-reactive antibodies, including the first identified monoclonal antibody specific for soluble and membrane-associated RhCMV envelope glycoprotein B (gB). Additionally, we noted that plasmablast RhCMV-specific antibodies had variable gene usage and maturation similar to those observed in a monkey chronically coinfected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and RhCMV. This study reveals characteristics of the early maternal RhCMV-specific humoral immune responses to primary RhCMV infection in rhesus monkeys and may contribute to a future understanding of what antibody responses should be targeted by a vaccine to eliminate congenital HCMV transmission. Furthermore, the identification of an RhCMV gB-specific monoclonal antibody underscores the possibility of modeling future HCMV vaccine strategies in this nonhuman primate model.
Project description:Congenital human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection and HCMV infection of immunosuppressed patients cause significant morbidity and mortality, and vaccine development against HCMV is a major public health priority. HCMV envelope glycoproteins gB, gH, and gL, which constitute the core fusion machinery, play critical roles in HCMV fusion and entry into host cells. HCMV gB and gH/gL have been reported to elicit potent neutralizing antibodies. Recently, the gB/gH/gL complex was identified in the envelope of HCMV virions, and 16-50% of the total gH/gL bound to gB, forming the gB/gH/gL complex. These findings make the gB/gH/gL a unique HCMV vaccine candidate. We previously reported the production of HCMV trimeric gB and gH/gL heterodimers, and immunization with a combination of trimeric gB and gH/gL heterodimers elicited strong synergistic HCMV-neutralizing activity. To further improve the immunogenicity of gH/gL, we produced trimeric gH/gL. Rabbits immunized with HCMV trimeric gH/gL induced up to 38-fold higher serum titers of gH/gL-specific IgG relative to HCMV monomeric gH/gL, and elicited ~10-fold higher titers of complement-dependent and complement-independent HCMV-neutralizing activity for both epithelial cells and fibroblasts. HCMV trimeric gH/gL in combination with HCMV trimeric gB would be a novel promising HCMV vaccine candidate that could induce highly potent neutralizing activities.