Identification of a neutralizing epitope within Antigenic domain 5 of glycoprotein B of human cytomegalovirus

Academic Article


  • Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important, ubiquitous pathogen that causes severe clinical disease in immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients and infants infected in utero. The envelope glycoprotein B (gB) of HCMV is a major antigen for the induction of virus-neutralizing antibodies. We have begun to define target structures within gB that are recognized by virus-neutralizing antibodies. Antigenic domain 5 (AD-5) of gB has been identified as an important target for neutralizing antibodies in studies using human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Anti-AD-5 MAbs share a target site on gB, despite originating from different, healthy, HCMV-infected donors. Mutational analysis of AD-5 identified tyrosine 280 in combination with other surface-exposed residues (the YNND epitope) as critical for antibody binding. The YNND epitope is strictly conserved among different HCMV strains. Recombinant viruses carrying YNND mutations in AD-5 were resistant to virus-neutralizing MAbs. Competition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) with human HCMV-convalescent-phase sera from unselected donors confirmed the conserved antibody response for the YNND epitope in HCMV-infected individuals and, because a significant fraction of the gB AD-5 response was directed against the YNND epitope, further argued that this epitope is a major target of anti-AD-5 antibody responses. In addition, affinity-purified polyclonal anti-AD-5 antibodies prepared from individual sera showed reactivity to AD-5 and neutralization activity toward gB mutant viruses that were similar to those of AD-5- specific MAbs. Taken together, our data indicate that the YNND epitope represents an important target for anti-gB antibody responses as well as for anti-AD-5 virus-neutralizing antibodies.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wiegers AK; Sticht H; Winkler TH; Britt WJ; Mach M
  • Start Page

  • 361
  • End Page

  • 372
  • Volume

  • 89
  • Issue

  • 1