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    Increased epitope complexity correlated with antibody affinity maturation and a novel binding mode revealed by structures of rabbit antibodies against the third variable loop (V3) of HIV-1 gp120.

    Pan, R. and Qin, Y. and Banasik, M. and Lees, William and Shepherd, Adrian J. and Cho, M. and Kong, X.-P. (2018) Increased epitope complexity correlated with antibody affinity maturation and a novel binding mode revealed by structures of rabbit antibodies against the third variable loop (V3) of HIV-1 gp120. Journal of Virology , ISSN 0022-538X. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    The V3 loop of HIV-1 gp120 is an immunodominant region targeted by neutralizing antibodies (nAbs). Despite limited breadth, better characterization of the structural details of the interactions between these nAbs and their target epitopes would enhance our understanding of the mechanism of neutralization and facilitate designing better immunogens to induce nAbs with greater breadth. Recently, we isolated two anti-V3 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), 10A3 and 10A37, from a rabbit immunized with gp120 of the M group consensus sequence. In this study, crystal structures of these mAbs bound to target epitopes were determined. 10A3 binds to the V3 crown (303TRKSIHIGPGRAF317), using the cradle binding mode similar to human V3 mAbs encoded by IGHV5-51 germline genes and its epitope structure resembles that bound to the human antibodies. In contrast, 10A37, which exhibits greater breadth and potency than 10A3, binds the V3 crown and the succeeding stem region (308HIGPGRAFYTTGEI323). Unexpectedly, the 315RAFYTT320 portion of the epitope existed as helical turns, a V3 structure that has not been observed previously. Its main chain-dominated antigen-antibody interactions not only explain the broad neutralization of 10A37 but also show that its epitope is a potential vaccine target to be further evaluated. In conclusion, our study provides novel insights about neutralization-susceptible epitope structures of the V3 loop of HIV-1 gp120 and demonstrates that, despite low amino acid sequence similarity from human antibody germline genes, rabbits can serve as a useful animal model to evaluate human vaccine candidates. IMPORTANCE The apex crown of the third variable loop (V3) of HIV-1 gp120 is the most immunogenic region of the surface glycoprotein and many mAbs targeting this region have been developed. Structural understanding of V3 crown mAbs not only can help understand how antibody responses targeting this unique region, but also contribute to immunogen design for vaccine development. We present here crystal structures of two neutralizing V3 mAbs, 10A3 and 10A37, developed from rabbits immunized with gp120. Our analysis of 10A3 in complex with V3 provided a detailed example of how epitope complexity can evolve with affinity maturation, while that of 10A37 revealed a novel V3 binding mode targeting the C-terminal side of V3 crown and showed that this region can form a helical structure. Our study provides novel insights about neutralization-susceptible V3 epitope structures and demonstrates that rabbits can serve as a useful animal model to evaluate human vaccine candidates.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB), Data Analytics, Birkbeck Institute for
    Depositing User: Adrian Shepherd
    Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2018 17:26
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 11:18
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/21137

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