Identifying epitopes responsible for neutralizing antibody and DC-SIGN binding on the spike glycoprotein of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus

Yi-Ping Shih, Chia-Yen Chen, Shih-Jen Liu, Kuan-Hsuan Chen, Yuan-Ming Lee, Yu-Chan Chao, Yi-Ming Arthur Chen
Journal of Virology 2006, 80 (21): 10315-24
The severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) uses dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3 grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN) to facilitate cell entry via cellular receptor-angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. For this project, we used recombinant baculoviruses expressing different lengths of SARS-CoV spike (S) protein in a capture assay to deduce the minimal DC-SIGN binding region. Our results identified the region location between amino acid (aa) residues 324 to 386 of the S protein. We then generated nine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the S protein to map the DC-SIGN-binding domain using capture assays with pseudotyped viruses and observed that MAb SIa5 significantly blocked S protein-DC-SIGN interaction. An enhancement assay using the HKU39849 SARS-CoV strain and human immature dendritic cells confirmed our observation. Data from a pepscan analysis and M13 phage peptide display library system mapped the reactive MAb SIa5 epitope to aa residues 363 to 368 of the S protein. Results from a capture assay testing three pseudotyped viruses with mutated N-linked glycosylation sites of the S protein indicate that only two pseudotyped viruses (N330Q and N357Q, both of which lost glycosylation sites near the SIa5 epitope) had diminished DC-SIGN-binding capacity. We also noted that MAb SIb4 exerted a neutralizing effect against HKU39849; its reactive epitope was mapped to aa residues 435 to 439 of the S protein. We offer the data to facilitate the development of therapeutic agents and preventive vaccines against SARS-CoV infection.

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