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J Mol Biol. 1998 Aug 7;281(1):95-106.

Two antibodies that neutralize papillomavirus by different mechanisms show distinct binding patterns at 13 A resolution.

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Laboratory of Structural Biology, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA.


Complexes between bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV1) and examples of two sets of neutralizing, monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to the major capsid protein (L1) were analyzed by low-dose cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional (3D) image reconstruction to 13 A resolution. mAb #9 is representative of a set of neutralizing antibodies that can inhibit viral binding to the cell surface, while mAb 5B6 is representative of a second set that efficiently neutralizes papillomaviruses without significantly inhibiting viral binding to the cell surface. The 3D reconstructions reveal that mAb #9 binds to L1 molecules of both pentavalent and hexavalent capsomeres. In contrast, 5B6 binds only to hexavalent capsomeres, reflecting the significant structural or environmental differences for the 5B6 epitope in the 12 pentavalent capsomeres. Epitope localization shows that mAb #9 binds monovalently to the tips of capsomeres whereas 5B6 binds both monovalently and bivalently to the sides of hexavalent capsomeres approximately two-thirds of the way down from the outer tips, very close to the putative stabilizing intercapsomere connections. The absence of mAb 5B6 from the pentavalent capsomeres and its inability to prevent viral binding to the cell surface suggest that receptor binding may occur at one or more of the 12 virion vertices.

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