Discovery and characterization of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to the influenza hemagglutinin (HA) stem have provided insights for the development of a universal flu vaccine. Identification of signature features common to bnAbs from different individuals will be key to guiding immunogen design. S9-3-37 is a bnAb isolated from a healthy H5N1 vaccinee. Here, structural characterization reveals that the D3-9 gene segment of S9-3-37 contributes most of the interaction surface with the highly conserved stem epitope on HA. Comparison with other influenza bnAb crystal structures indicates that the D3-9 segment provides a general mechanism for targeting HA stem. Interestingly, such bnAbs can approach the HA stem with vastly different angles and orientations. Moreover, D3-9 can be translated in different reading frames in different bnAbs yet still target the same HA stem pocket. Thus, the D3-9 gene segment in the human immune repertoire can provide a robust defense against influenza virus. Identifying signature features common to broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) is key to universal flu vaccine design. Wu et al. report that the D3-9 encoded segment of an influenza hemagglutinin stem-targeting bnAb contributes the majority of the interaction surface and is a recurring motif in antibodies that target the hemagglutinin stem.
- broadly neutralizing antibody
- immune response
- X-ray crystallography
ASJC Scopus subject areas