Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging alphavirus that causes a debilitating arthritic disease, infects millions of people, and has no specific treatment. 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 (IC50 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 post-exposure. Epitope mapping using a comprehensive shotgun mutagenesis library of 910 E2/E1 alanine mutations demonstrated that IM-CKV063 binds to an inter-subunit 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 non-neutralizing. Fusion loop MAb reactivity was affected by temperature and reactivity conditions, suggesting that the fusion loop is hidden in infectious virions. Visualizing the binding sites of 15 different MAbs on the structure of E2/E1 reveals that all epitopes are located at the membrane distal region of the E2/E1 spike. Interestingly, epitopes on the exposed top-most and outer surfaces of the E2/E1 trimer structure are neutralizing whereas epitopes facing the interior of the trimer are not, providing a rationale for vaccine design and therapeutic MAb development using the intact CHIKV E2/E1 trimer.
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.
This study characterized anisakid nematodes in estuarine and near-shore species of fish in southern Western Australia. A total of 108 fish representing 13 species were examined for anisakid larvae. For the molecular characterization of anisakid larvae (n=218), we used PCR-coupled mutation scanning-sequencing-phylogenetic analyses of sequence variation in the internal transcribed spacers of nuclear ribosomal DNA. With the exception of Sillaginoides punctatus and Sillago schomburgkii, all the fish species examined (Aldrichetta forsteri, Arripis georgianus, Hyporhamphus regularis, Mugil cephalus, Platycephalus speculator, Pomatomus saltatrix, Pseudocaranx dentex, Pseudocaranx wrighti, Thysanophrys cirronatus, Trachurus novaezeelandiae and Upeneichthys lineatus) harboured at least one species of anisakid. Mutation scanning analysis identified 11 different genotypes of anisakid larvae. Phylogenetic analyses of the sequence data, employing reference sequence data for a wide range of anisakids (31 species) from public databases, revealed the presence of Anisakis pegreffii (n=3), Contracaecum multipapillatum (49), Contracaecum ogmorhini (1), Hysterothylacium larval type IV (82), Hysterothylacium larval type Vb (14), Hysterothylacium larval type VIII (3), Hysterothylacium larval type X (65), and Terranova type I (1) in the fish examined. The present study provides valuable information on the diversity of anisakids in southern Western Australia and also a basis for future investigations to assess the public health significance of these parasites.
There are no available vaccines for dengue, the most important mosquito-transmitted viral disease. Mechanistic studies with anti-dengue virus (DENV) human monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) provide a rational approach to identify and characterize neutralizing epitopes on DENV structural proteins that can serve to inform vaccine strategies. Here, we report a class of hMAbs that is likely to be an important determinant in the human humoral response to DENV infection. In this study, we identified and characterized three broadly neutralizing anti-DENV hMAbs: 4.8A, D11C, and 1.6D. These antibodies were isolated from three different convalescent patients with distinct histories of DENV infection yet demonstrated remarkable similarities. All three hMAbs recognized the E glycoprotein with high affinity, neutralized all four serotypes of DENV, and mediated antibody-dependent enhancement of infection in Fc receptor-bearing cells at subneutralizing concentrations. The neutralization activities of these hMAbs correlated with a strong inhibition of virus-liposome and intracellular fusion, not virus-cell binding. We mapped epitopes of these antibodies to the highly conserved fusion loop region of E domain II. Mutations at fusion loop residues W101, L107, and/or G109 significantly reduced the binding of the hMAbs to E protein. The results show that hMAbs directed against the highly conserved E protein fusion loop block viral entry downstream of virus-cell binding by inhibiting E protein-mediated fusion. Characterization of hMAbs targeting this region may provide new insights into DENV vaccine and therapeutic strategies.
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