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J Infect Dis. 2019 Aug 30;220(7):1209-1218. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz274.

Repertoire and Neutralizing Activity of Antibodies Against Hepatitis C Virus E2 Peptide in Patients With Spontaneous Resolution of Hepatitis C.

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Laboratory for Clinical and Experimental Hepatology, Section of Hepatology, Clinic for Gastroenterology and Rheumatology, University Clinic Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
Division of B Cell Immunology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.
Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Munich, Germany.
Inserm U1110, University of Strasbourg, France.
Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, United Kingdom.
Clinic for Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Charité, CVK, Berlin, Germany.


Neutralizing antibodies can prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, one of the leading causes of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Here, we characterized the immunoglobulin repertoire of memory B-cell antibodies against a linear epitope in the central front layer of the HCV envelope (E2; amino acids 483-499) in patients who were infected in a single-source outbreak. A reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-based immunoglobulin gene cloning and recombinant expression approach was used to express monoclonal antibodies from HCV E2 peptide-binding immunoglobulin G-positive memory B cells. We identified highly mutated antibodies with a neutralizing effect in vitro against different genotype isolates sharing similar gene features. Our data confirm the importance of VH1-69 use for neutralizing activity. The data offer a promising basis for vaccine research and the use of anti-E2 antibodies as a means of passive immunization.


HCV; HCV envelope (E2) protein; anti-D cohort; memory B cells; neutralizing antibodies


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