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A peptide mimic of a protective epitope of respiratory syncytial virus selected from a combinatorial library induces virus-neutralizing antibodies and reduces viral load in vivo

Author: Chargelegue, D. · Obeid, O.E. · Hsu, S.C. · Shaw, M.D. · Denbury, A.N. · Taylor, G. · Steward, M.W.
Institution: TNO Preventie en Gezondheid
Source:Journal of Virology, 3, 72, 2040-2046
Identifier: 234392
Keywords: Health · Animals · Antibodies, Monoclonal · Antibodies, Viral · Antigens, Viral · Disease Models, Animal · Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte · Female · HN Protein · Mice · Mice, Inbred BALB C · Neutralization Tests · Peptides · Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections · Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human · Vaccines, Synthetic · Viral Envelope Proteins · Viral Load · Viral Proteins · Viral Vaccines


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants and young children worldwide. As yet, there is no effective vaccine against RSV infection, and previous attempts to develop a formalin-inactivated vaccine resulted in exacerbated disease in recipients subsequently exposed to the virus. In the work described here, a combinatorial solid-phase peptide library was screened with a protective monoclonal antibody (MAb 19) to identify peptide mimics (mimotopes) of a conserved and conformationally-determined epitope of RSV fusion (F) protein. Two sequences identified (S1 [HWYISKPQ] and S2 [HWYDAEVL]) reacted specifically with MAb 19 when they were presented as solid-phase peptides. Furthermore, after amino acid substitution analyses, three sequences derived from S1 (S1S [HWSISKPQ], S1K [KWYISKPQ], and S1P [HPYISKPQ]), presented as multiple antigen peptides (MAPs), also showed strong reactivity with MAb 19. The affinity constants of the binding of MAb 19, determined by surface plasmon resonance analyses, were 1.19 x 109 and 4.93 x 109 M-1 for S1 and S1S, respectively. Immunization of BALB/c mice with these mimotopes, presented as MAPs, resulted in the induction of anti-peptide antibodies that inhibited the binding of MAb 19 to RSV and neutralized viral infection in vitro, with titers equivalent to those in sera from RSV-infected animals. Following RSV challenge of S1S mimotope-immunized mice, a 98.7% reduction in the titer of virus in the lungs was observed. Furthermore, there was a greatly reduced cell infiltration in the lungs of immunized mice compared to that in controls. These results indicate the potential of peptide mimotopes to protect against RSV infection without exacerbating pulmonary pathology.