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J Virol . Epitopes of an antibody that neutralizes a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants in a conserved subdomain 1 of the spike protein

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  • J Virol . Epitopes of an antibody that neutralizes a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants in a conserved subdomain 1 of the spike protein

    J Virol


    . 2024 Apr 16:e0041624.
    doi: 10.1128/jvi.00416-24. Online ahead of print. Epitopes of an antibody that neutralizes a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants in a conserved subdomain 1 of the spike protein

    Hanako Ishimaru # 1 , Mitsuhiro Nishimura # 1 , Hideki Shigematsu 2 , Maria Istiqomah Marini 1 , Natsumi Hasegawa 1 , Rei Takamiya 1 , Sachiyo Iwata 3 , Yasuko Mori 1



    AffiliationsAbstract

    The evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has continued, enabling the virus to escape from host immunity by changing its spike antigen, while biased toward the receptor-binding domain and N-terminal domain. Here, we isolated a novel pan-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody (which we named MO11) for even the recent dominators XBB.1.16 and EG.5.1, from a convalescent patient who had received three doses of an original mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. A cryo-electron microscopy analysis of the spike-MO11 complex at 2.3 Å atomic resolution revealed that it recognizes a conserved epitope hidden behind a glycan shield at N331 on subdomain 1 (SD1), holding both the N- and C-terminal segments comprising SD1. Our identification of MO11 unveiled the functional importance of SD1 for the spike's function, and we discuss the potential availability of a novel common epitope among the SARS-CoV-2 variants.IMPORTANCENovel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants with immune evasion ability are still repeatedly emerging, nonetheless, a part of immunity developed in responding to the antigen of earlier variants retains efficacy against recent variants irrespective of the numerous mutations. In exploration for the broadly effective antibodies, we identified a cross-neutralizing antibody, named MO11, from the B cells of the convalescent patient. MO11 targets a novel epitope in subdomain 1 (SD1) and was effective against all emerging variants including XBB.1.16 and EG.5.1. The neutralizing activity covering from D614G to EG.5.1 variants was explained by the conservation of the epitope, and it revealed the importance of the subdomain on regulating the function of the antigen for viral infection. Demonstrated identification of the neutralizing antibody that recognizes a conserved epitope implies basal contribution of such group of antibodies for prophylaxis against COVID-19.

    Keywords: Omicron variants; broadly neutralizing activity; common epitope; cryoelectron microscopy; human monoclonal antibody; severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); spike; subdomain 1; vaccine.

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