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J Virol. 2011 Jun;85(12):5940-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00193-11. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Interactions of human complement with virus particles containing the Nipah virus glycoproteins.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1064, USA.


Complement is an innate immune response system that most animal viruses encounter during natural infections. We have tested the role of human complement in the neutralization of virus particles harboring the Nipah virus (NiV) glycoproteins. A luciferase-expressing vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) pseudotype that contained the NiV fusion (F) and attachment (G) glycoproteins (NiVpp) showed dose- and time-dependent activation of human complement through the alternative pathway. In contrast to our findings with other paramyxoviruses, normal human serum (NHS) alone did not neutralize NiVpp infectivity in vitro, and electron microscopy demonstrated no significant deposition of complement component C3 on particles. This lack of NiVpp neutralization by NHS was not due to a global inhibition of complement pathways, since complement was found to significantly enhance neutralization by antibodies specific for the NiV F and G glycoproteins. Complement components C4 and C1q were necessary but not sufficient by themselves for the enhancement of antibody neutralization. Human complement also enhanced NiVpp neutralization by a soluble version of the NiV receptor EphrinB2, and this depended on components in the classical pathway. The ability of complement to enhance neutralization fell into one of two profiles: (i) anti-F monoclonal antibodies showed enhancement only at high and not low antibody concentrations, and (ii) anti-G monoclonal antibodies and EphrinB2 showed enhancement at both high and very low levels of antibody (e.g., 3.1 ng) or EphrinB2 (e.g., 2.5 ng). Together, these data establish the importance of human complement in the neutralization of particles containing the NiV glycoproteins and will help guide the design of more effective therapeutics that harness the potency of complement pathways.

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