Anti-hepatitis C virus E2 (HCV/E2) glycoprotein monoclonal antibodies and neutralization interference

Giuseppe Sautto, Nicasio Mancini, Roberta A. Diotti, Laura Solforosi, Massimo Clementi, Roberto Burioni

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The suggested HCV escape mechanism consisting in the elicitation of antibody (Ab) subpopulations interfering with the neutralizing activity of other Abs has recently been questioned. In particular, it was originally reported that Abs directed against the 436-447 region (epitope II) of HCV/E2 glycoprotein may interfere with the neutralizing Abs directed against the 412-423 region (epitope I) involved in the binding to CD81. In this paper, we investigate on the molecular features of this phenomenon describing an anti-HCV/E2 monoclonal Ab (mAb) (e509) endowed with a weak neutralizing activity, and whose epitope is centered on epitope II. Interestingly, e509 influenced the potent neutralizing activity of AP33, one of the best characterized anti-HCV/E2 mAb, whereas it did not show any interfering activity against two other broadly neutralizing mAbs (e20 and e137), whose epitopes partially overlap with that of e509 and which possibly displace it from the antigen.These data may give a possible clue to interpret the conflicting studies published to date on the mechanism of interference, suggesting the existence of at least two groups of broadly neutralizing anti-HCV/E2 Abs: (i) those whose epitope is focused on the 412-423 CD81-binding region and whose activity may be hampered by other Abs directed against the 436-447 region, and (ii) those directed against CD81-binding regions but whose epitope contains also residues within the 436-447 region recognized by interfering mAbs, thus competing with them for binding. The conflicting results of previous studies may therefore depend on the relative amount of each of these two populations in the polyclonal preparations used. Overall, a better comprehension of this phenomenon may be of importance in the set up of novel mAb-based anti-HCV therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interfering antibody
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Neutralizing antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Pharmacology


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