Importance of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies targeting multiple antigenic sites on the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike glycoprotein to avoid neutralization escape


Journal Article

© 2018 American Society for Microbiology. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes a highly lethal pulmonary infection with ~35% mortality. The potential for a future pandemic originating from animal reservoirs or health care-associated events is a major public health concern. There are no vaccines or therapeutic agents currently available for MERS-CoV. Using a probe-based single B cell cloning strategy, we have identified and characterized multiple neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specifically binding to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) or S1 (non-RBD) regions from a convalescent MERS-CoV-infected patient and from immunized rhesus macaques. RBD-specific MAbs tended to have greater neutralizing potency than non-RBD S1- specific MAbs. Six RBD-specific and five S1-specific MAbs could be sorted into four RBD and three non-RBD distinct binding patterns, based on competition assays, mapping neutralization escape variants, and structural analysis. We determined cocrystal structures for two MAbs targeting the RBD from different angles and show they can bind the RBD only in the "out" position. We then showed that selected RBD-specific, non-RBD S1-specific, and S2-specific MAbs given prophylactically prevented MERS-CoV replication in lungs and protected mice from lethal challenge. Importantly, combining RBD- and non-RBD MAbs delayed the emergence of escape mutations in a cell-based virus escape assay. These studies identify MAbs targeting different antigenic sites on S that will be useful for defining mechanisms of MERSCoV neutralization and for developing more effective interventions to prevent or treat MERS-CoV infections.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wang, L; Shi, W; Chappell, JD; Joyce, MG; Zhang, Y; Kanekiyo, M; Becker, MM; Doremalen, NV; Fischer, R; Wang, N; Corbett, KS; Choe, M; Mason, RD; Van Galen, JG; Zhou, T; Saunders, KO; Tatti, KM; Haynes, LM; Kwong, PD; Modjarrad, K; Kong, WP; McLellan, JS; Denison, MR; Munster, VJ; Mascola, JR; Graham, BS

Published Date

  • May 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 92 / 10

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1098-5514

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-538X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1128/JVI.002002-17

Citation Source

  • Scopus