Combining a Fusion Inhibitory Peptide Targeting the MERS-CoV S2 Protein HR1 Domain and a Neutralizing Antibody Specific for the S1 Protein Receptor-Binding Domain (RBD) Showed Potent Synergism against Pseudotyped MERS-CoV with or without Mutations in RBD
Authors: Wang, Cong; Hua, Chen; Xia, Shuai; Li, Weihua; Lu, Lu; Jiang, Shibo
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has continuously posed a threat to public health worldwide, yet no therapeutics or vaccines are currently available to prevent or treat MERS-CoV infection. We previously identified a fusion inhibitory peptide (HR2P-M2) targeting the MERS-CoV S2 protein HR1 domain and a highly potent neutralizing monoclonal antibody (m336) specific to the S1 spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD). However, m336 was found to have reduced efficacy against MERS-CoV strains with mutations in RBD, and HR2P-M2 showed low potency, thus limiting the clinical application of each when administered separately. However, we herein report that the combination of m336 and HR2P-M2 exhibited potent synergism in inhibiting MERS-CoV S protein-mediated cell-cell fusion and infection by MERS-CoV pseudoviruses with or without mutations in the RBD, resulting in the enhancement of antiviral activity in contrast to either one administered alone. Thus, this combinatorial strategy could be used in clinics for the urgent treatment of MERS-CoV-infected patients.
Importance of Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting Multiple Antigenic Sites on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Spike Glycoprotein To Avoid Neutralization Escape
JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY
Authors: Wang, Lingshu; Shi, Wei; Chappell, James D.; Joyce, M. Gordon; Zhang, Yi; Kanekiyo, Masaru; Becker, Michelle M.; van Doremalen, Neeltje; Fischer, Robert; Wang, Nianshuang; Corbett, Kizzmekia S.; Choe, Misook; Mason, Rosemarie D.; Van Galen, Joseph G.; Zhou, Tongqing; Saunders, Kevin O.; Tatti, Kathleen M.; Haynes, Lia M.; Kwong, Peter D.; Modjarrad, Kayvon; Kong, Wing-Pui; McLellan, Jason S.; Denison, Mark R.; Munster, Vincent J.; Mascola, John R.; Graham, Barney S.
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes a highly lethal pulmonary infection with similar to 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 co-crystal 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 MERS-CoV neutralization and for developing more effective interventions to prevent or treat MERS-CoV infections. IMPORTANCE MERS-CoV causes a highly lethal respiratory infection for which no vaccines or antiviral therapeutic options are currently available. Based on continuing exposure from established reservoirs in dromedary camels and bats, transmission of MERS-CoV into humans and future outbreaks are expected. Using structurally defined probes for the MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein (S), the target for neutralizing antibodies, single B cells were sorted from a convalescent human and immunized nonhuman primates (NHPs). MAbs produced from paired immunoglobulin gene sequences were mapped to multiple epitopes within and outside the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and protected against lethal MERS infection in a murine model following passive immunization. Importantly, combining MAbs targeting distinct epitopes prevented viral neutralization escape from RBD-directed MAbs. These data suggest that antibody responses to multiple domains on CoV spike protein may improve immunity and will guide future vaccine and therapeutic development efforts.