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How Antibodies Recognize Pathogenic Viruses: Structural Correlates of Antibody Neutralization of HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and Zika

Abernathy, Morgan E. and Dam, Kim-Marie A. and Esswein, Shannon R. and Jette, Claudia A. and Bjorkman, Pamela J. (2021) How Antibodies Recognize Pathogenic Viruses: Structural Correlates of Antibody Neutralization of HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and Zika. Viruses, 13 (10). Art. No. 2106. ISSN 1999-4915. PMCID PMC8537525. doi:10.3390/v13102106.

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The H1N1 pandemic of 2009-2010, MERS epidemic of 2012, Ebola epidemics of 2013-2016 and 2018-2020, Zika epidemic of 2015-2016, and COVID-19 pandemic of 2019-2021, are recent examples in the long history of epidemics that demonstrate the enormous global impact of viral infection. The rapid development of safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics has proven vital to reducing morbidity and mortality from newly emerging viruses. Structural biology methods can be used to determine how antibodies elicited during infection or vaccination target viral proteins and identify viral epitopes that correlate with potent neutralization. Here we review how structural and molecular biology approaches have contributed to our understanding of antibody recognition of pathogenic viruses, specifically HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and Zika. Determining structural correlates of neutralization of viruses has guided the design of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule inhibitors in response to the global threat of viral epidemics.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Abernathy, Morgan E.0000-0001-9959-7713
Dam, Kim-Marie A.0000-0002-1416-4757
Esswein, Shannon R.0000-0002-5142-0190
Jette, Claudia A.0000-0002-5085-8027
Bjorkman, Pamela J.0000-0002-2277-3990
Additional Information:© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Received: 16 September 2021; Accepted: 12 October 2021; Published: 19 October 2021. We would like to thank members of the Bjorkman laboratory for helpful discussions; the Caltech Merkin Institute for Translational Research for resources that enable our work; the Caltech Beckman Institute Resource Center for Transmission Electron Microscopy for support in cryo-EM projects; the Gordon and Betty Moore and Beckman Foundations for gifts to support the Molecular Observatory at Caltech, which provides aid for protein crystallization; and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), which provides data collection capabilities for X-ray crystallography. Finally, we are grateful for Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to structural biology and for her brazen career as a female scientist that continues to embolden researchers, especially women. This research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Grant HIVRAD P01 AI100148, a George Mason University Fast Grant GMU.SARSCOV2, an NSF GRFP (to M.E.A.), a NIH National Research Service Award Fellowship F30AI147579 (S.R.E.), NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences Training Grant T32-GM008042 (to S.R.E.) through the University of California, Los Angeles–California Institute of Technology Medical Scientist Training Program, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant AI138938. This work was supported, in whole or in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (grant INV-002143). Under the grant conditions of the Foundation, a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License has already been assigned to the Author Accepted Manuscript version that might arise from this submission. Author Contributions: M.E.A., K.-M.A.D., S.R.E., and C.A.J. wrote and edited this review article with critical reading and editing by P.J.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest for this work. Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable. Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHP01 AI100148
George Mason UniversityGMU.SARSCOV2
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipT32-GM008042
UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationINV-002143
Subject Keywords:antibody; cryo-electron microscopy; HIV-1; SARS-CoV-2; structural biology; virus; X-ray crystallography; Zika
Issue or Number:10
PubMed Central ID:PMC8537525
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211021-175154754
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Abernathy, M.E.; Dam, K.-M.A.; Esswein, S.R.; Jette, C.A.; Bjorkman, P.J. How Antibodies Recognize Pathogenic Viruses: Structural Correlates of Antibody Neutralization of HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and Zika. Viruses 2021, 13, 2106.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111578
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Oct 2021 23:17
Last Modified:25 Oct 2021 17:43

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