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Front Microbiol. 2012 Aug 2;3:277. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00277. eCollection 2012.

Origin, diversity, and maturation of human antiviral antibodies analyzed by high-throughput sequencing.

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CCR Nanobiology Program, Protein Interactions Group, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Frederick MD, USA.


Our understanding of how antibodies are generated and function could help develop effective vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics against viruses such as HIV-1, SARS coronavirus (SARS CoV), and Hendra and Nipah viruses (henipaviruses). Although broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against the HIV-1 were observed in patients, elicitation of such bnAbs remains a major challenge when compared to other viral targets. We previously hypothesized that HIV-1 could have evolved a strategy to evade the immune system due to absent or very weak binding of germline antibodies to the conserved epitopes that may not be sufficient to initiate and/or maintain an effective immune response. To further explore our hypothesis, we used the 454 sequence analysis of a large naïve library of human IgM antibodies which had been used for selecting antibodies against SARS CoV receptor-binding domain (RBD), and soluble G proteins (sG) of henipaviruses. We found that the human IgM repertoires from the 454 sequencing have diverse germline usages, recombination patterns, junction diversity, and a lower extent of somatic mutation. In this study, we identified antibody maturation intermediates that are related to bnAbs against the HIV-1 and other viruses as observed in normal individuals, and compared their genetic diversity and somatic mutation level along with available structural and functional data. Further computational analysis will provide framework for understanding the underlying genetic and molecular determinants related to maturation pathways of antiviral bnAbs that could be useful for applying novel approaches to the design of effective vaccine immunogens and antibody-based therapeutics.


454 sequencing; HIV-1; IgM; immunogen; monoclonal antibody; vaccine

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