A novel glycoprotein D-specific monoclonal antibody neutralizes herpes simplex virus

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Abstract

The worldwide prevalence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the shortage of efficient vaccines and novel therapeutic strategies against HSV are widely global concerns. The abundance on the virion and the major stimulus for the virus-neutralizing antibodies makes gD a predominant candidate for cure of HSV infection. In this study, we generated a monoclonal antibody (mAb), termed m27f, targeting to glycoprotein D (gD) of HSV-2, which also has cross-reactivity against HSV-1 gD. It has a high level of neutralizing activity against both HSV-1 and HSV-2, and binds to a highly conserved region (residues 292–297) within the pro-fusion domain of gD. It can effectively block HSV cell-to-cell spread in vitro. The pre- or post-attachment neutralization assay and syncytium formation inhibition assay revealed that m27f neutralizes HSV at the post-binding stage. Moreover, therapeutic administration of m27f completely prevented infection-related mortality of mice challenged with a lethal dose of HSV-2. Our newly identified epitope for the neutralizing antibody would facilitate studies of gD-based HSV entry or vaccine design, and m27f itself demonstrated a high potential for adaptation as a protective or therapeutic drug against HSV.

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