Rachel E Sutton
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Researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to an urgent need to understand the molecular basis for immune recognition of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein antigenic sites. To define the genetic and structural basis for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization, we determined the structures of two human monoclonal antibodies COV2-2196 and COV2-21301, which form the basis of the investigational antibody cocktail AZD7442, in complex with the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. COV2-2196 forms an "aromatic cage" at the heavy/light chain interface using germline-encoded residues in complementarity determining regions (CDRs) 2 and 3 of the heavy chain and CDRs 1 and 3 of the light chain. These structural features explain why highly similar antibodies (public clonotypes) have been isolated from multiple individuals1-4. The structure of COV2-2130 reveals that an unusually long LCDR1 and HCDR3 make interactions with the opposite face of the RBD from that of COV2-2196. Using deep mutational scanning and neutralization escape selection experiments, we comprehensively mapped the critical residues of both antibodies and identified positions of concern for possible viral escape. Nonetheless, both COV2-2196 and COV2-2130 showed strong neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 strain with recent variations of concern including E484K, N501Y, and D614G substitutions. These studies reveal germline-encoded antibody features enabling recognition of the RBD and demonstrate the activity of a cocktail like AZD7442 in preventing escape from emerging variant viruses.
Cell Host & Microbe, 2020-11-20
Antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) are being developed as therapeutics and make a major contribution to the neutralizing antibody response elicited by infection. Here, we describe a deep mutational scanning method to map how all amino-acid mutations in the RBD affect antibody binding, and apply this method to 10 human monoclonal antibodies. The escape mutations cluster on several surfaces of the RBD that broadly correspond to structurally defined antibody epitopes. However, even antibodies targeting the same RBD surface often have distinct escape mutations. The complete escape maps predict which mutations are selected during viral growth in the presence of single antibodies, and enable us to design escape-resistant antibody cocktails–including cocktails of antibodies that compete for binding to the same surface of the RBD but have different escape mutations. Therefore, complete escape-mutation maps enable rational design of antibody therapeutics and assessment of the antigenic consequences of viral evolution. ### Competing Interest Statement J.E.C. has served as a consultant for Sanofi; is on the Scientific Advisory Boards of CompuVax and Meissa Vaccines; is a recipient of previous unrelated research grants from Moderna and Sanofi; and is a founder of IDBiologics. Vanderbilt University has applied for patents concerning SARS-CoV-2 antibodies analyzed in this work. S.P.J.W. and P.W.R. have filed a disclosure with Washington University for the recombinant VSV. The other authors declare no competing interests.
SARS-CoV-2 has caused the global COVID-19 pandemic. Although passively delivered neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 show promise in clinical trials, their mechanism of action in vivo is incompletely understood. Here, we define correlates of protection of neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in SARS-CoV-2-infected animals. Whereas Fc effector functions are dispensable when representative neutralizing mAbs are administered as prophylaxis, they are required for optimal protection as therapy. When given after infection, intact mAbs reduce SARS-CoV-2 burden and lung disease in mice and hamsters better than loss-of-function Fc variant mAbs. Fc engagement of neutralizing antibodies mitigates inflammation and improves respiratory mechanics, and transcriptional profiling suggests these phenotypes are associated with diminished innate immune signaling and preserved tissue repair. Immune cell depletions establish that neutralizing mAbs require monocytes for therapeutic efficacy. Thus, potently neutralizing mAbs require Fc effector functions for maximal therapeutic benefit during therapy to modulate protective immune responses and mitigate lung disease.
Unrelated individuals can produce genetically similar clones of antibodies, known as public clonotypes, which have been seen in responses to different infectious diseases as well as healthy individuals. Here we identify 37 public clonotypes in memory B cells from convalescent survivors of SARS-CoV-2 infection or in plasmablasts from an individual after vaccination with mRNA-encoded spike protein. We identified 29 public clonotypes, including clones recognizing the receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the spike protein S1 subunit (including a neutralizing, ACE2-blocking clone that protects in vivo), and others recognizing non-RBD epitopes that bound the heptad repeat 1 region of the S2 domain. Germline-revertant forms of some public clonotypes bound efficiently to spike protein, suggesting these common germline-encoded antibodies are preconfigured for avid recognition. Identification of large numbers of public clonotypes provides insight into the molecular basis of efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and sheds light on the immune pressures driving the selection of common viral escape mutants.
Nature Medicine, 2020-07-10
Antibodies are a principal determinant of immunity for most RNA viruses and have promise to reduce infection or disease during major epidemics. The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic with millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths to date1,2. In response, we used a rapid antibody discovery platform to isolate hundreds of human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. We stratify these mAbs into five major classes based on their reactivity to subdomains of S protein as well as their cross-reactivity to SARS-CoV. Many of these mAbs inhibit infection of authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus, with most neutralizing mAbs recognizing the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of S. This work defines sites of vulnerability on SARS-CoV-2 S and demonstrates the speed and robustness of existing antibody discovery methodologies ### Competing Interest Statement R.S.B. has served as a consultant for Takeda and Sanofi Pasteur on issues related to vaccines. M.S.D. is a consultant for Inbios Vir Biotechnology, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of Moderna, and a recipient of unrelated research grants from Moderna and Emergent BioSolutions. J.E.C. has served as a consultant for Sanofi and is on the Scientific Advisory Boards of CompuVax and Meissa Vaccines, is a recipient of previous unrelated research grants from Moderna and Sanofi and is Founder of IDBiologics, Inc. Vanderbilt University has applied for patents concerning SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that are related to this work. F.E.-H.L., D.C.N., and I.S. are inventors on a patent submitted for the plasmablast survival medium. J.D. and K.W.M. are employees of Berkeley Lights, Inc. All other authors declared no competing interests.