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Nat Microbiol. 2018 Jun;3(6):670-677. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0157-z. Epub 2018 May 7.

Broadly neutralizing antibodies from human survivors target a conserved site in the Ebola virus glycoprotein HR2-MPER region.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
2
Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA.
3
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.
4
Galveston National Laboratory, Galveston, TX, USA.
5
Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.
6
Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.
7
Integral Molecular, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, USA.
8
Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
9
Department of Chemistry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
10
The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.
11
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA. alexander.bukreyev@utmb.edu.
12
Galveston National Laboratory, Galveston, TX, USA. alexander.bukreyev@utmb.edu.
13
Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA. alexander.bukreyev@utmb.edu.
14
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA. james.crowe@vanderbilt.edu.
15
Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. james.crowe@vanderbilt.edu.
16
Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. james.crowe@vanderbilt.edu.

Abstract

Ebola virus (EBOV) in humans causes a severe illness with high mortality rates. Several strategies have been developed in the past to treat EBOV infection, including the antibody cocktail ZMapp, which has been shown to be effective in nonhuman primate models of infection 1 and has been used under compassionate-treatment protocols in humans 2 . ZMapp is a mixture of three chimerized murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)3-6 that target EBOV-specific epitopes on the surface glycoprotein7,8. However, ZMapp mAbs do not neutralize other species from the genus Ebolavirus, such as Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Reston virus (RESTV) or Sudan virus (SUDV). Here, we describe three naturally occurring human cross-neutralizing mAbs, from BDBV survivors, that target an antigenic site in the canonical heptad repeat 2 (HR2) region near the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of the glycoprotein. The identification of a conserved neutralizing antigenic site in the glycoprotein suggests that these mAbs could be used to design universal antibody therapeutics against diverse ebolavirus species. Furthermore, we found that immunization with a peptide comprising the HR2-MPER antigenic site elicits neutralizing antibodies in rabbits. Structural features determined by conserved residues in the antigenic site described here could inform an epitope-based vaccine design against infection caused by diverse ebolavirus species.

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