Identification of broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus.
ABSTRACT: Despite the serious public health impact of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), the efficacy of antivirals targeting the causative agent, CCHF virus (CCHFV), remains debatable. Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) targeting the CCHFV glycoprotein Gc have been reported to protect mice against challenge with the prototype CCHFV strain, IbAr10200. However, due to extensive sequence diversity of CCHFV glycoproteins, it is unknown whether these MAbs neutralize other CCHFV strains. We initially used a CCHF virus-like particle (VLP) system to generate 11 VLP moieties, each possessing a glycoprotein from a genetically diverse CCHFV strain isolated in either Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or southeastern Europe. We used these VLPs in biosafety level 2 conditions to efficiently screen MAb cross-neutralization potency. Of the 16 MAbs tested, 3 (8A1, 11E7, and 30F7) demonstrated cross-neutralization activity with most CCHF VLPs, with 8A1 neutralizing all VLPs tested. Although binding studies suggest that none of the MAbs compete for the same epitope, combining 11E7, 30F7, or both 11E7 and 30F7 with 8A1 had no additive effect on increasing neutralization in this system. To confirm our findings from the VLP system, the 3 MAbs capable of strain cross-neutralization were confirmed to effectively neutralize 5 diverse CCHFV strains in vitro. Passaging CCHFV strains in the presence of sub-neutralizing concentrations of MAbs did not generate escape mutants resistant to subsequent neutralization. This study demonstrates the utility of the VLP system for screening neutralizing MAbs against multiple CCHFV strains, and provides the first evidence that a single MAb can effectively neutralize a number of diverse CCHFV strains in vitro, which may lead to development of future CCHF therapeutics.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a bunyavirus causing severe hemorrhagic fever disease in humans, with high mortality rates. The requirement of a high-containment laboratory and the lack of an animal model hampered the study of the immune response and protection of vaccine candidates. Using the recently developed interferon alpha receptor knockout (IFNAR-/-) mouse model, which replicates human disease, we investigated the immunogenicity and protection of two novel CCHFV vaccine candidates: a DNA vaccine encoding a ubiquitin-linked version of CCHFV Gc, Gn, and N and one using transcriptionally competent virus-like particles (tc-VLPs). In contrast to most studies that focus on neutralizing antibodies, we measured both humoral and cellular immune responses. We demonstrated a clear and 100% efficient preventive immunity against lethal CCHFV challenge with the DNA vaccine. Interestingly, there was no correlation with the neutralizing antibody titers alone, which were higher in the tc-VLP-vaccinated mice. However, the animals with a lower neutralizing titer, but a dominant cell-mediated Th1 response and a balanced Th2 response, resisted the CCHFV challenge. Moreover, we found that in challenged mice with a Th1 response (immunized by DNA/DNA and boosted by tc-VLPs), the immune response changed to Th2 at day 9 postchallenge. In addition, we were able to identify new linear B-cell epitope regions that are highly conserved between CCHFV strains. Altogether, our results suggest that a predominantly Th1-type immune response provides the most efficient protective immunity against CCHFV challenge. However, we cannot exclude the importance of the neutralizing antibodies as the surviving immunized mice exhibited substantial amounts of them.IMPORTANCE Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is responsible for hemorrhagic diseases in humans, with a high mortality rate. There is no FDA-approved vaccine, and there are still gaps in our knowledge of the immune responses to infection. The recently developed mouse models mimic human CCHF disease and are useful to study the immunogenicity and the protection by vaccine candidates. Our study shows that mice vaccinated with a specific DNA vaccine were fully protected. Importantly, we show that neutralizing antibodies are not sufficient for protection against CCHFV challenge but that an extra Th1-specific cellular response is required. Moreover, we describe the identification of five conserved B-cell epitopes, of which only one was previously known, that could be of great importance for the development of diagnostics tools and the improvement of vaccine candidates.
Project description:JC polyomavirus (JCV) persistently infects the urinary tract of most adults. Under conditions of immune impairment, JCV causes an opportunistic brain disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). JCV strains found in the cerebrospinal fluid of PML patients contain distinctive mutations in surface loops of the major capsid protein, VP1. We hypothesized that VP1 mutations might allow the virus to evade antibody-mediated neutralization. Consistent with this hypothesis, neutralization serology revealed that plasma samples from PML patients neutralized wild-type JCV strains but failed to neutralize patient-cognate PML-mutant JCV strains. This contrasted with serological results for healthy individuals, most of whom robustly cross-neutralized all tested JCV variants. Mice administered a JCV virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine initially showed neutralizing "blind spots" (akin to those observed in PML patients) that closed after booster immunization. A PML patient administered an experimental JCV VLP vaccine likewise showed markedly increased neutralizing titer against her cognate PML-mutant JCV. The results indicate that deficient humoral immunity is a common aspect of PML pathogenesis and that vaccination may overcome this humoral deficiency. Thus, vaccination with JCV VLPs might prevent the development of PML.
Project description:Noroviruses are the principal cause of epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide with GII.4 strains accounting for 80% of infections. The major capsid protein of GII.4 strains is evolving rapidly, resulting in new epidemic strains with altered antigenic potentials. To test if antigenic drift may contribute to GII.4 persistence, human memory B cells were immortalized and the resulting human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) characterized for reactivity to a panel of time-ordered GII.4 virus-like particles (VLPs). Reflecting the complex exposure history of the volunteer, human anti-GII.4 mAbs grouped into three VLP reactivity patterns; ancestral (1987-1997), contemporary (2004-2009), and broad (1987-2009). NVB 114 reacted exclusively to the earliest GII.4 VLPs by EIA and blockade. NVB 97 specifically bound and blocked only contemporary GII.4 VLPs, while NBV 111 and 43.9 exclusively reacted with and blocked variants of the GII.4.2006 Minerva strain. Three mAbs had broad GII.4 reactivity. Two, NVB 37.10 and 61.3, also detected other genogroup II VLPs by EIA but did not block any VLP interactions with carbohydrate ligands. NVB 71.4 cross-neutralized the panel of time-ordered GII.4 VLPs, as measured by VLP-carbohydrate blockade assays. Using mutant VLPs designed to alter predicted antigenic epitopes, two evolving, GII.4-specific, blockade epitopes were mapped. Amino acids 294-298 and 368-372 were required for binding NVB 114, 111 and 43.9 mAbs. Amino acids 393-395 were essential for binding NVB 97, supporting earlier correlations between antibody blockade escape and carbohydrate binding variation. These data inform VLP vaccine design, provide a strategy for expanding the cross-blockade potential of chimeric VLP vaccines, and identify an antibody with broadly neutralizing therapeutic potential for the treatment of human disease. Moreover, these data support the hypothesis that GII.4 norovirus evolution is heavily influenced by antigenic variation of neutralizing epitopes and consequently, antibody-driven receptor switching; thus, protective herd immunity is a driving force in norovirus molecular evolution.
Project description:Human immunodeficiency virus-type I (HIV-1) infection elicits antibodies (Abs) directed against several regions of the gp120 and gp41 envelope glycoproteins. Many of these Abs are able to neutralize T-cell-line-adapted strains (TCLA) of HIV-1, but only a few effectively neutralize primary HIV-1 isolates. The nature of HIV-1 neutralization has been carefully studied using human monoclonal Abs (MAbs), and the ability of such MAbs to act in synergy to neutralize HIV-1 has also been extensively studied. However, most synergy studies have been conducted using TCLA strains. To determine the nature of Ab interaction in HIV-1 primary isolate neutralization, a panel of 12 anti-HIV-1 human immunoglobulin G (IgG) MAbs, specific for epitopes in gp120 and gp41, were used. Initial tests showed that six of these MAbs, as well as sCD4, used individually, were able to neutralize the dualtropic primary isolate HIV-1(89.6); MAbs giving significant neutralization at 2 to 10 microg/ml included 2F5 (anti-gp41), 50-69 (anti-gp41), IgG1b12 (anti-gp120(CD4bd)), 447-52D (anti-gp120(V3)), 2G12 (anti-gp120), and 670-D (anti-gp120(C5)). For studies of reagent interaction, 16 binary combinations of reagents were tested for their ability to neutralize HIV-1(89.6). Reagent combinations tested included one neutralizing MAb with sCD4, six pairs consisting of two neutralizing MAbs, and nine pairs consisting of one neutralizing MAb with another non-neutralizing MAb. To assess the interaction of the latter type of combination, a new mathematical treatment of reagent interaction was developed since previously used methods could be used only when both reagents neutralize. Synergy was noted between sCD4 and a neutralizing anti-gp120(V3) MAb. Antagonism was noted between two pairs of anti-gp41 MAbs (one neutralizing and one non-neutralizing). All of the other 13 pairs of MAbs tested displayed only additive effects. These studies suggest that Abs rarely act in synergy to neutralize primary isolate HIV-1(89.6); many anti-HIV-1 Abs act additively to mediate this biological function.
Project description:While previous studies have demonstrated that envelope (E) glycoprotein variation between dengue viruses (DENV) genotypes can influence antibody neutralization potency, the mechanisms of variable neutralization remain incompletely understood. Here we characterize epitope antibody interactions of a DENV-3 EDIII binding mouse mAb 8A1 which displays highly variable neutralizing activity against DENV-3 genotypes. Using a DENV-3 reverse genetics platform, we characterize ability of 8A1 to bind and neutralize naturally occurring DENV-3 E genotypic variant viruses. Introduction of single and multiple amino acid mutations into the parental clone background demonstrates that mutations at positions 301 and 383 on EDIII are responsible for 8A1 differential neutralization phenotypes. ELISA and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) studies indicate differences in binding are responsible for the variable neutralization. Variability at position 301 primarily determined binding difference through influencing antibody-EDIII dissociation rate. Our findings are relevant to many groups focusing on DENV EDIII as a vaccine target.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an often lethal, acute inflammatory illness that affects a large geographic area. The disease is caused by infection with CCHF virus (CCHFV), a nairovirus from the Bunyaviridae family. Basic research on CCHFV has been severely hampered by biosafety requirements and lack of available strains and molecular tools. We report the development of a CCHF transcription- and entry-competent virus-like particle (tecVLP) system that can be used to study cell entry and viral transcription/replication over a broad dynamic range (~4 orders of magnitude). The tecVLPs are morphologically similar to authentic CCHFV. Incubation of immortalized and primary human cells with tecVLPs results in a strong reporter signal that is sensitive to treatment with neutralizing monoclonal antibodies and by small molecule inhibitors of CCHFV. We used glycoproteins and minigenomes from divergent CCHFV strains to generate tecVLPs, and in doing so, we identified a monoclonal antibody that can prevent cell entry of tecVLPs containing glycoproteins from 3 pathogenic CCHFV strains. In addition, our data suggest that different glycoprotein moieties confer different cellular entry efficiencies, and that glycoproteins from the commonly used strain IbAr10200 have up to 100-fold lower ability to enter primary human cells compared to glycoproteins from pathogenic CCHFV strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines based on major capsid protein L1 are licensed in over 100 countries to prevent HPV infections. The yeast-derived recombinant quadrivalent HPV L1 vaccine, GARDASIL(R), has played an important role in reducing cancer and genital warts since its introduction in 2006. The L1 proteins self-assemble into virus-like particles (VLPs). RESULTS: VLPs were subjected to post-purification disassembly and reassembly (D/R) treatment during bioprocessing to improve VLP immunoreactivity and stability. The post-D/R HPV16 VLPs and their complex with H16.V5 neutralizing antibody Fab fragments were visualized by cryo electron microscopy, showing VLPs densely decorated with antibody. Along with structural improvements, post-D/R VLPs showed markedly higher antigenicity to conformational and neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) H16.V5, H16.E70 and H263.A2, whereas binding to mAbs recognizing linear epitopes (H16.J4, H16.O7, and H16.H5) was greatly reduced. Strikingly, post-D/R VLPs showed no detectable binding to H16.H5, indicating that the H16.H5 epitope is not accessible in fully assembled VLPs. An atomic homology model of the entire HPV16 VLP was generated based on previously determined high-resolution structures of bovine papillomavirus and HPV16 L1 pentameric capsomeres. CONCLUSIONS: D/R treatment of HPV16 L1 VLPs produces more homogeneous VLPs with more virion-like antibody reactivity. These effects can be attributed to a combination of more complete and regular assembly of the VLPs, better folding of L1, reduced non-specific disulfide-mediated aggregation and increased stability of the VLPs. Markedly different antigenicity of HPV16 VLPs was observed upon D/R treatment with a panel of monoclonal antibodies targeting neutralization sensitive epitopes. Multiple epitope-specific assays with a panel of mAbs with different properties and epitopes are required to gain a better understanding of the immunochemical properties of VLPs and to correlate the observed changes at the molecular level. Mapping of known antibody epitopes to the homology model explains the changes in antibody reactivity upon D/R. In particular, the H16.H5 epitope is partially occluded by intercapsomeric interactions involving the L1 C-terminal arm. The homology model allows a more precise mapping of antibody epitopes. This work provides a better understanding of VLPs in current vaccines and could guide the design of improved vaccines or therapeutics.
Project description:Neutralizing antibodies (Abs) are thought to be a critical component of an appropriate HIV vaccine response. It has been proposed that Abs recognizing conformationally dependent quaternary epitopes on the HIV envelope (Env) trimer may be necessary to neutralize diverse HIV strains. A number of recently described broadly neutralizing monoclonal Abs (mAbs) recognize complex and quaternary epitopes. Generally, many such Abs exhibit extensive numbers of somatic mutations and unique structural characteristics. We sought to characterize the native antibody (Ab) response against circulating HIV focusing on such conformational responses, without a prior selection based on neutralization. Using a capture system based on VLPs incorporating cleaved envelope protein, we identified a selection of B cells that produce quaternary epitope targeting Abs (QtAbs). Similar to a number of broadly neutralizing Abs, the Ab genes encoding these QtAbs showed extensive numbers of somatic mutations. However, when expressed as recombinant molecules, these Abs failed to neutralize virus or mediate ADCVI activity. Molecular analysis showed unusually high numbers of mutations in the Ab heavy chain framework 3 region of the variable genes. The analysis suggests that large numbers of somatic mutations occur in Ab genes encoding HIV Abs in chronically infected individuals in a non-directed, stochastic, manner.
Project description:Several conserved neutralizing epitopes have been identified in the HIV Env protein and among these, the MPER of gp41 has received great attention and is widely recognized as a promising target. However, little success has been achieved in eliciting MPER-specific HIV neutralizing antibodies by a number of different vaccine strategies. We investigated the ability of HA/gp41 chimeric protein-based vaccines, which were designed to enhance the exposure of the MPER in its native conformation, to induce MPER-specific HIV neutralizing antibodies. In characterization of the HA/gp41 chimeric protein, we found that by mutating an unpaired Cys residue (Cys-14) in its HA1 subunit to a Ser residue, the modified chimeric protein HA-C14S/gp41 showed increased reactivity to a conformation-sensitive monoclonal antibody against HA and formed more stable trimers in VLPs. On the other hand, HA-C14S/gp41 and HA/gp41 chimeric proteins expressed on the cell surfaces exhibited similar reactivity to monoclonal antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. Immunization of guinea pigs using the HA-C14S/gp41 DNA or VLP vaccines induced antibodies against the HIV gp41 as well as to a peptide corresponding to a segment of MPER at higher levels than immunization by standard HIV VLPs. Further, sera from vaccinated guinea pigs were found to exhibit HIV neutralizing activities. Moreover, sera from guinea pigs vaccinated by HA-C14S/gp41 DNA and VLP vaccines but not the standard HIV VLPs, were found to neutralize HIV pseudovirions containing a SIV-4E10 chimeric Env protein. The virus neutralization could be blocked by a MPER-specific peptide, thus demonstrating induction of MPER-specific HIV neutralizing antibodies by this novel vaccine strategy. These results show that induction of MPER-specific HIV neutralizing antibodies can be achieved through a rationally designed vaccine strategy.
Project description:Noroviruses are the principal cause of epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide. Multiple reports have concluded that the major capsid proteins of GII.4 strains, which cause 80% of norovirus infections worldwide, are evolving rapidly, resulting in new epidemic strains. Surrogate neutralization assays using sera from outbreaks and from immunized mice suggest that, as with influenza virus, antigenic variation maintains GII.4 persistence in the face of human population herd immunity. To test this hypothesis, mice were hyperimmunized with virus-like particles (VLPs) representing an early (GII.4-1987) and a contemporary (GII.4-2006) GII.4 strain. Anti-GII.4-1987 IgG monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) strongly reacted with GII.4 VLPs derived between only 1987 and 2002. Ligand binding blockade was more efficient with GII.4-1987 and GII.4-1997 VLPs than with GII.4-2002. Anti-GII.4-2006 IgG MAbs recognized either a broad panel of GII.4 VLPs (1987 to 2006) or a subset of contemporary (2004 to 2006) VLPs. Most 2006 antibodies did not recognize or only poorly recognized GII.4 VLPs of 2007 or 2008, documenting rapid antigenic evolution of GII.4 capsids. Generally, 2006 MAbs blocked homotypic VLP-ligand binding but were unable to block VLPs representing strains primarily circulating during or earlier than 2002. These analyses demonstrate that both subtle and significant evolutionary change has occurred within antibody epitopes between epidemic strains, providing direct evidence that the GII.4 noroviruses are undergoing antigenic variation, likely in response to herd immunity. As with influenza virus, HIV, and hepatitis C virus, norovirus antigenic variation will significantly influence the design of efficacious vaccines and immunotherapeutics against these important human pathogens.