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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Mar 19;393(4):614-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.02.031. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Highly conserved sequences for human neutralization epitope on hemagglutinin of influenza A viruses H3N2, H1N1 and H5N1: Implication for human monoclonal antibody recognition.

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Department of Genome Informatics, Genome Information Research Center, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The epitope sequences within the hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza A virus H3N2 at amino acid residues 173-181 and 227-239 that forms anti-parallel beta-sheet structure are similarly recognized by human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs), B-1 and D-1 that we recently obtained using the peripheral blood lymphocytes from two influenza-vaccinated volunteers. Both HuMAbs showed strong global neutralization of H3N2 strains. Here we show the significant conservation of the beta-sheet region consisting of the above-mentioned two epitope regions in H3N2. In addition, we also identified the corresponding regions with similar structure in other subtypes such as H1N1 and H5N1. These two regions are similarly located underneath the receptor-binding sites of individual subtypes. Analysis of those regions using sequences available from the Influenza Virus Resource at the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that compared with those in the known neutralizing epitopes A-E, those sequences were fairly conserved in human H3N2 (n=7955), swine H1N1 (n=360) and swine H3N2 (n=235); and highly conserved in human H1N1 (n=2722), swine-origin pandemic H1N1 (n=1474), human H5N1 (n=319) and avian H5N1 (n=2349). Phylogenetic tree for these regions formed clearly separable clusters for H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1, irrespective of different host origin. These data may suggest a possible significance of those regions for development of alternative vaccine that could induce neutralizing antibodies reactive against wide-range of influenza virus strains.

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