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Epitope-Specific Serological Assays for RSV: Conformation Matters.


ABSTRACT: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes substantial morbidity and mortality in children and older adults. An effective vaccine must elicit neutralizing antibodies targeting the RSV fusion (F) protein, which exists in two major conformations, pre-fusion (pre-F) and post-fusion (post-F). Although 50% of the surface is shared, pre-F contains highly neutralization-sensitive antigenic sites not present on post-F. Recent advancement of several subunit F-based vaccine trials has spurred interest in quantifying and understanding the protective potential of antibodies directed to individual antigenic sites. Monoclonal antibody competition ELISAs are being used to measure these endpoints, but the impact of F conformation and competition from antibodies binding to adjacent antigenic sites has not been thoroughly investigated. Since this information is critical for interpreting clinical trial outcomes and defining serological correlates of protection, we optimized assays to evaluate D25-competing antibodies (DCA) to antigenic site Ø on pre-F, and compared readouts of palivizumab-competing antibodies (PCA) to site II on both pre-F and post-F. We show that antibodies to adjacent antigenic sites can contribute to DCA and PCA readouts, and that cross-competition from non-targeted sites is especially confounding when PCA is measured using a post-F substrate. While measuring DCA and PCA levels may be useful to delineate the role of antibodies targeting the apex and side of the F protein, respectively, the assay limitations and caveats should be considered when conducting immune monitoring during vaccine trials and defining correlates of protection.

SUBMITTER: Phung E 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6466065 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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