Towards a solution for hepatitis C virus hypervariability: Mimotopes of the hypervariable region 1 can induce antibodies cross-reacting with a large number of viral variants

Giulia Puntoriero, Annalisa Meola, Armin Lahm, Silvia Zucchelli, Bruno Bruni Ercole, Rosalba Tafi, Monica Pezzanera, Mario U. Mondelli, Riccardo Cortese, Anna Tramontano, Giovanni Galfre', Alfredo Nicosia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the putative envelope protein E2 of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most variable antigenic fragment in the whole viral genome and is mainly responsible for the large inter- and intra-individual heterogeneity of the infecting virus. It contains a principal neutralization epitope and has been proposed as the major player in the mechanism of escape from host immune response. Since anti-HVR1 antibodies are the only species shown to possess protective activity up to date, developing an effective prevention therapy is a very difficult task. We have approached the problem of HVR1 variability by deriving a consensus profile from > 200 HVR1 sequences from different viral isolates and used it as a template to generate a vast repertoire of synthetic HVR1 surrogates displayed on M13 bacteriophage. This library was affinity selected using many different sera from infected patients. Phages were identified which react very frequently with patients' sera and bind serum antibodies that cross-react with a large panel of HVR1 peptides derived from natural HCV variants. When injected into experimental animals, the 'mimotopes' with the highest cross-reactivity induced antibodies which recognized the same panel of natural HVR1 variants. In these mimotopes we identified a sequence pattern responsible for the observed crossreactivity. These data may hold the key for future development of a prophylactic vaccine against HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3521-3533
Number of pages13
JournalEMBO Journal
Volume17
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1998

Keywords

  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Hypervariable region 1
  • Phage library

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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    Puntoriero, G., Meola, A., Lahm, A., Zucchelli, S., Ercole, B. B., Tafi, R., Pezzanera, M., Mondelli, M. U., Cortese, R., Tramontano, A., Galfre', G., & Nicosia, A. (1998). Towards a solution for hepatitis C virus hypervariability: Mimotopes of the hypervariable region 1 can induce antibodies cross-reacting with a large number of viral variants. EMBO Journal, 17(13), 3521-3533. https://doi.org/10.1093/emboj/17.13.3521