Cryo-EM structure of an antibody that neutralizes dengue virus type 2 by locking E protein dimers

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Science  03 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6243, pp. 88-91
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa8651

An antibody to lock dengue virus out

Mosquito-borne dengue virus (DENV) is a growing public health threat. Nearly 400 million people are infected annually, and no vaccine is currently available. Fibriansah et al. report that a human antibody (2D22) specific for DENV serotype 2, when given therapeutically, can protect mice from a lethal form of this virus. Structural analysis revealed that 2D22 binds across multiple DENV envelope proteins, which probably blocks the ability of these proteins to assemble into the orientation necessary for viral entry. The epitope where 2D22 binds to the virus may therefore represent a potential vaccine target.

Science, this issue p. 88


There are four closely-related dengue virus (DENV) serotypes. Infection with one serotype generates antibodies that may cross-react and enhance infection with other serotypes in a secondary infection. We demonstrated that DENV serotype 2 (DENV2)–specific human monoclonal antibody (HMAb) 2D22 is therapeutic in a mouse model of antibody-enhanced severe dengue disease. We determined the cryo–electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of HMAb 2D22 complexed with two different DENV2 strains. HMAb 2D22 binds across viral envelope (E) proteins in the dimeric structure, which probably blocks the E protein reorganization required for virus fusion. HMAb 2D22 “locks” two-thirds of or all dimers on the virus surface, depending on the strain, but neutralizes these DENV2 strains with equal potency. The epitope defined by HMAb 2D22 is a potential target for vaccines and therapeutics.

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