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Front Immunol. 2019 Mar 29;10:706. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00706. eCollection 2019.

Antigenic Site-Specific Competitive Antibody Responses to the Fusion Protein of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Were Associated With Viral Clearance in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Adults.

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Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States.
Departments of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States.
Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States.


Background: Recent studies of human sera showed that the majority of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) neutralizing antibodies are directed against pre-fusion conformation of the fusion (F) protein of RSV and revealed the importance of pre-fusion antigenic site Ø specific antibodies. However, detailed analysis of multiple antigenic site-specific competitive antibody responses to RSV F protein and their contribution to virus clearance in humans are lacking. Methods: We prospectively enrolled a cohort of RSV infected hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) adults (n = 40). Serum samples were collected at enrollment (acute, n = 40) and 14 to 60 days post-enrollment (convalescent, n = 40). Antigenic site-specific F protein antibodies were measured against pre-fusion site Ø, post-fusion site I, and sites II and IV present in both the pre-fusion and post-fusion F protein conformations utilizing four different competitive antibody assays developed with biotinylated monoclonal antibodies (mAb) D25, 131-2A, palivizumab, and 101F, respectively. The lower limit of detection were 7.8 and 1.0 μg/mL for the competitive antibody assays that measured site Ø specific response, as well as sites I, II, and IV specific responses, respectively. Neutralizing antibody titers to RSV A and B subgroups was determined by microneutralization assays. Results: The overall findings in RSV infected HCT adults revealed: (1) a significant increase in antigenic site-specific competitive antibodies in convalescent sera except for site Ø competitive antibody (p < 0.01); (2) comparable concentrations in the acute and convalescent serum samples of antigenic site-specific competitive antibodies between RSV/A and RSV/B infected HCT adults (p > 0.05); (3) significantly increased concentrations of the antigenic site-specific competitive antibodies in HCT adults who had genomic RSV detected in the upper respiratory tract for <14 days compared to those for ≥14 days (p < 0.01); and (4) statistically significant correlation between the antigenic site-specific competitive antibody concentrations and neutralizing antibody titers against RSV/A and RSV/B (r ranged from 0.33 to 0.83 for acute sera, and 0.50-0.88 for convalescent sera; p < 0.05). Conclusions: In RSV infected HCT adults, antigenic site-specific antibody responses were induced against multiple antigenic sites found in both the pre-fusion and post-fusion F conformations, and were associated with a more rapid viral clearance and neutralizing antibody activity. However, the association is not necessarily the cause and the consequence.


competitive antibody; fusion protein; hematopoietic cell transplantation; respiratory syncytial virus; viral clearance

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