Chimeric Filoviruses for Identification and Characterization of Monoclonal Antibodies.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:Recent experiments suggest that some glycoprotein (GP)-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) can protect experimental animals against the filovirus Ebola virus (EBOV). There is a need for isolation of MAbs capable of neutralizing multiple filoviruses. Antibody neutralization assays for filoviruses frequently use surrogate systems such as the rhabdovirus vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSV), lentiviruses or gammaretroviruses with their envelope proteins replaced with EBOV GP or pseudotyped with EBOV GP. It is optimal for both screening and in-depth characterization of newly identified neutralizing MAbs to generate recombinant filoviruses that express a reporter fluorescent protein in order to more easily monitor and quantify the infection. Our study showed that unlike neutralization-sensitive chimeric VSV, authentic filoviruses are highly resistant to neutralization by MAbs. We used reverse genetics techniques to replace EBOV GP with its counterpart from the heterologous filoviruses Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Sudan virus, and even Marburg virus and Lloviu virus, which belong to the heterologous genera in the filovirus family. This work resulted in generation of multiple chimeric filoviruses, demonstrating the ability of filoviruses to tolerate swapping of the envelope protein. The sensitivity of chimeric filoviruses to neutralizing MAbs was similar to that of authentic biologically derived filoviruses with the same GP. Moreover, disabling the expression of the secreted GP (sGP) resulted in an increased susceptibility of an engineered virus to the BDBV52 MAb isolated from a BDBV survivor, suggesting a role for sGP in evasion of antibody neutralization in the context of a human filovirus infection. IMPORTANCE:The study demonstrated that chimeric rhabdoviruses in which G protein is replaced with filovirus GP, widely used as surrogate targets for characterization of filovirus neutralizing antibodies, do not accurately predict the ability of antibodies to neutralize authentic filoviruses, which appeared to be resistant to neutralization. However, a recombinant EBOV expressing a fluorescent protein tolerated swapping of GP with counterparts from heterologous filoviruses, allowing high-throughput screening of B cell lines to isolate MAbs of any filovirus specificity. Human MAb BDBV52, which was isolated from a survivor of BDBV infection, was capable of partially neutralizing a chimeric EBOV carrying BDBV GP in which expression of sGP was disabled. In contrast, the parental virus expressing sGP was resistant to the MAb. Thus, the ability of filoviruses to tolerate swapping of GP can be used for identification of neutralizing MAbs specific to any filovirus and for the characterization of MAb specificity and mechanism of action.
Project description:One year after a Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) outbreak occurred in the Boende Health Zone of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2014, we sought to determine the breadth of immune response against diverse filoviruses including EBOV, Bundibugyo (BDBV), Sudan (SUDV), and Marburg (MARV) viruses. After assessing the 15 survivors, 5 individuals demonstrated some degree of reactivity to multiple ebolavirus species and, in some instances, Marburg virus. All 5 of these survivors had immunoreactivity to EBOV glycoprotein (GP) and EBOV VP40, and 4 had reactivity to EBOV nucleoprotein (NP). Three of these survivors showed serologic responses to the 3 species of ebolavirus GPs tested (EBOV, BDBV, SUDV). All 5 samples also exhibited ability to neutralize EBOV using live virus, in a plaque reduction neutralization test. Remarkably, 3 of these EBOV survivors had plasma antibody responses to MARV GP. In pseudovirus neutralization assays, serum antibodies from a subset of these survivors also neutralized EBOV, BDBV, SUDV, and Taï Forest virus as well as MARV. Collectively, these findings suggest that some survivors of naturally acquired ebolavirus infection mount not only a pan-ebolavirus response, but also in less frequent cases, a pan-filovirus neutralizing response.
Project description:Filoviruses (family Filoviridae) include five ebolaviruses and Marburg virus. These pathogens cause a rapidly progressing and severe viral disease with high mortality rates (generally 30-90%). Outbreaks of filovirus disease are sporadic and, until recently, were limited to less than 500 cases. However, the 2013-2016 epidemic in western Africa, caused by Ebola virus (EBOV), illustrated the potential of filovirus outbreaks to escalate to a much larger scale (over 28,000 suspected cases). mAbs against the envelope glycoprotein represent a promising therapeutic platform for managing filovirus infections. However, mAbs that exhibit neutralization or protective properties against multiple filoviruses are rare. Here we examined a panel of engineered bi- and trispecific antibodies, in which variable domains of mAbs that target epitopes from multiple filoviruses were combined, for their capacity to neutralize viral infection across filovirus species. We found that bispecific combinations targeting EBOV and Sudan virus (another ebolavirus), provide potent cross-neutralization and protection in mice. Furthermore, trispecific combinations, targeting EBOV, Sudan virus, and Marburg virus, exhibited strong neutralization potential against all three viruses. These results provide important insights into multispecific antibody engineering against filoviruses and will inform future immunotherapeutic discoveries.
Project description:Filoviruses cause highly lethal viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. Current immunotherapeutic options for filoviruses are mostly specific to Ebola virus (EBOV), although other members of Filoviridae such as Sudan virus (SUDV), Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), and Marburg virus (MARV) have also caused sizeable human outbreaks. Here we report a set of pan-ebolavirus and pan-filovirus monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) derived from cynomolgus macaques immunized repeatedly with a mixture of engineered glycoproteins (GPs) and virus-like particles (VLPs) for three different filovirus species. The antibodies recognize novel neutralizing and nonneutralizing epitopes on the filovirus glycoprotein, including conserved conformational epitopes within the core regions of the GP1 subunit and a novel linear epitope within the glycan cap. We further report the first filovirus antibody binding to a highly conserved epitope within the fusion loop of ebolavirus and marburgvirus species. One of the antibodies binding to the core GP1 region of all ebolavirus species and with lower affinity to MARV GP cross neutralized both SUDV and EBOV, the most divergent ebolavirus species. In a mouse model of EBOV infection, this antibody provided 100% protection when administered in two doses and partial, but significant, protection when given once at the peak of viremia 3 days postinfection. Furthermore, we describe novel cocktails of antibodies with enhanced protective efficacy compared to individual MAbs. In summary, the present work describes multiple novel, cross-reactive filovirus epitopes and innovative combination concepts that challenge the current therapeutic models.Filoviruses are among the most deadly human pathogens. The 2014-2015 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) led to more than 27,000 cases and 11,000 fatalities. While there are five species of Ebolavirus and several strains of marburgvirus, the current immunotherapeutics primarily target Ebola virus. Since the nature of future outbreaks cannot be predicted, there is an urgent need for therapeutics with broad protective efficacy against multiple filoviruses. Here we describe a set of monoclonal antibodies cross-reactive with multiple filovirus species. These antibodies target novel conserved epitopes within the envelope glycoprotein and exhibit protective efficacy in mice. We further present novel concepts for combination of cross-reactive antibodies against multiple epitopes that show enhanced efficacy compared to monotherapy and provide complete protection in mice. These findings set the stage for further evaluation of these antibodies in nonhuman primates and development of effective pan-filovirus immunotherapeutics for use in future outbreaks.
Project description:Filoviruses are notorious viral pathogens responsible for high-consequence diseases in humans and non-human primates. Transcription of filovirus mRNA shares several common features with transcription in other non-segmented negative-strand viruses, including differential expression of genes located across the viral genome. Transcriptional patterns of Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) have been previously described using traditional, laborious methods, such as northern blots and in vivo labeling of viral mRNAs. More recently, however, the availability of the next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has offered a more straightforward approach to assess transcriptional patterns. In this report, we analyzed the transcription patterns of four ebolaviruses-EBOV, Sudan (SUDV), Bundibugyo (BDBV), and Reston (RESTV) viruses-in two different cell lines using standard NGS library preparation and sequencing protocols. In agreement with previous reports mainly focused on EBOV and MARV, the remaining filoviruses used in this study also showed a consistent transcription pattern, with only minor variations between the different viruses. We have also analyzed the proportions of the three mRNAs transcribed from the GP gene, which are characteristic of the genus Ebolavirus and encode the glycoprotein (GP), the soluble GP (sGP), and the small soluble GP (ssGP). In addition, we used NGS methodology to analyze the transcription pattern of two previously described recombinant MARV. This analysis allowed us to correct our construction design, and to make an improved version of the original MARV expressing reporter genes.
Project description:The 2013-2016 Ebola virus (EBOV) disease epidemic demonstrated the grave consequences of filovirus epidemics in the absence of effective therapeutics. Besides EBOV, two additional ebolaviruses, Sudan (SUDV) and Bundibugyo (BDBV) viruses, as well as multiple variants of Marburg virus (MARV), have also caused high fatality epidemics. Current experimental EBOV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are ineffective against SUDV, BDBV, or MARV. Here, we report that a cocktail of two broadly neutralizing ebolavirus mAbs, FVM04 and CA45, protects nonhuman primates (NHPs) against EBOV and SUDV infection when delivered four days post infection. This cocktail when supplemented by the anti-MARV mAb MR191 exhibited 100% efficacy in MARV-infected NHPs. These findings provide a solid foundation for clinical development of broadly protective immunotherapeutics for use in future filovirus epidemics.
Project description:Background:The 2013-2016 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemics in West Africa highlighted a need for effective therapeutics for treatment of the disease caused by filoviruses. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are promising therapeutic candidates for prophylaxis or treatment of virus infections. Data about efficacy of human mAb monotherapy against filovirus infections in preclinical nonhuman primate models are limited. Methods:Previously, we described a large panel of human mAbs derived from the circulating memory B cells from Bundibugyo virus (BDBV) infection survivors that bind to the surface glycoprotein (GP) of the virus. We tested one of these neutralizing mAbs that recognized the glycan cap of the GP, designated mAb BDBV289, as monotherapy in rhesus macaques. Results:We found that recombinant mAb BDBV289-N could confer up to 100% protection to BDBV-infected rhesus macaques when treatment was initiated as late as 8 days after virus challenge. Protection was associated with survival and decreased viremia levels in the blood of treated animals. Conclusions:These findings define the efficacy of monotherapy of lethal BDBV infection with a glycan cap-specific mAb and identify a candidate mAb therapeutic molecule that could be included in antibody cocktails for prevention or treatment of ebolavirus infections.
Project description:Ebolaviruses cause severe disease in humans, and identification of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that are effective against multiple ebolaviruses are important for therapeutics development. Here we describe a distinct class of broadly neutralizing human mAbs with protective capacity against three ebolaviruses infectious for humans: Ebola (EBOV), Sudan (SUDV), and Bundibugyo (BDBV) viruses. We isolated mAbs from human survivors of ebolavirus disease and identified a potent mAb, EBOV-520, which bound to an epitope in the glycoprotein (GP) base region. EBOV-520 efficiently neutralized EBOV, BDBV, and SUDV and also showed protective capacity in relevant animal models of these infections. EBOV-520 mediated protection principally by direct virus neutralization and exhibited multifunctional properties. This study identified a potent naturally occurring mAb and defined key features of the human antibody response that may contribute to broad protection. This multifunctional mAb and related clones are promising candidates for development as broadly protective pan-ebolavirus therapeutic molecules.
Project description:Background:In Ebola virus (EBOV) infection, the specific neutralizing activity of convalescent plasma against other members of the Ebolavirus genus has not been extensively analyzed. Methods:We measured the neutralizing activity in plasma from 3 survivors of the recent outbreak due to the Makona variant of EBOV and tested its neutralizing potency against other variants of EBOV (ie, Mayinga and Kikwit) and against Sudan virus (SUDV), Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), and Reston virus (RESTV), using a glycoprotein (GP)-pseudotyped lentiviral system both with full-length GP and in vitro-cleaved GP (GPCL). Results:Convalescent plasma specimens from survivors of EBOV infection showed low neutralizing activity against full-length GPs of SUDV, BDBV, RESTV, and EBOV variants Mayinga and Kikwit. However, broad and potent neutralizing activity was observed against the GPCL forms of SUDV, BDBV, and RESTV. Discussion:Removal of the mucin-like domain and glycan cap from the GP of members of the Ebolavirus genus presumably exposes conserved epitopes in or in the vicinity of the receptor binding site and internal fusion loop that are readily amenable to neutralization. These types of broad neutralizing antibodies could be induced by using immunogens mimicking GPCL.
Project description:Filoviruses, including ebolaviruses and marburgviruses, are the causative agents of highly lethal disease outbreaks. The 2013-2016 Ebola virus outbreak was responsible for >28000 infections and >11000 deaths. Although there are currently no licensed vaccines or therapeutics for any filovirus-induced disease, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are among the most promising options for therapeutic development. Hundreds of mAbs have been isolated from human survivors of filovirus infections that target the viral spike glycoprotein (GP). The binding, neutralization, and cross-reactivity of many of these mAbs has been determined. Several mAbs have been characterized structurally, and this information has been crucial for strategizing therapeutic and vaccine design. Here we present an overview of the structural features of the neutralizing/protective epitopes on filovirus glycoproteins.
Project description:The unprecedented 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa has highlighted the need for effective therapeutics against filoviruses. Monoclonal antibody (MAb) cocktails have shown great potential as EVD therapeutics; however, the existing protective MAbs are virus species specific. Here we report the development of pan-ebolavirus and pan-filovirus antibodies generated by repeated immunization of mice with filovirus glycoproteins engineered to drive the B cell responses toward conserved epitopes. Multiple pan-ebolavirus antibodies were identified that react to the Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, and Reston viruses. A pan-filovirus antibody that was reactive to the receptor binding regions of all filovirus glycoproteins was also identified. Significant postexposure efficacy of several MAbs, including a novel antibody cocktail, was demonstrated. For the first time, we report cross-neutralization and in vivo protection against two highly divergent filovirus species, i.e., Ebola virus and Sudan virus, with a single antibody. Competition studies indicate that this antibody targets a previously unrecognized conserved neutralizing epitope that involves the glycan cap. Mechanistic studies indicated that, besides neutralization, innate immune cell effector functions may play a role in the antiviral activity of the antibodies. Our findings further suggest critical novel epitopes that can be utilized to design effective cocktails for broad protection against multiple filovirus species.Filoviruses represent a major public health threat in Africa and an emerging global concern. Largely driven by the U.S. biodefense funding programs and reinforced by the 2014 outbreaks, current immunotherapeutics are primarily focused on a single filovirus species called Ebola virus (EBOV) (formerly Zaire Ebola virus). However, other filoviruses including Sudan, Bundibugyo, and Marburg viruses have caused human outbreaks with mortality rates as high as 90%. Thus, cross-protective immunotherapeutics are urgently needed. Here, we describe monoclonal antibodies with cross-reactivity to several filoviruses, including the first report of a cross-neutralizing antibody that exhibits protection against Ebola virus and Sudan virus in mice. Our results further describe a novel combination of antibodies with enhanced protective efficacy. These results form a basis for further development of effective immunotherapeutics against filoviruses for human use. Understanding the cross-protective epitopes are also important for rational design of pan-ebolavirus and pan-filovirus vaccines.