Structure of a protective epitope reveals the importance of acetylation of <i>Neisseria meningitidis</i> serogroup A capsular polysaccharide.
Dello Iacono, Lucia
Romano, Maria Rosaria
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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Henriques, P., Dello Iacono, L., Gimeno, A., Biolchi, A., Romano, M. R., Arda, A., Lopes Bernardes, G., et al. (2020). Structure of a protective epitope reveals the importance of acetylation of <i>Neisseria meningitidis</i> serogroup A capsular polysaccharide.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117 (47), 29795-29802. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011385117
Meningococcal meningitis remains a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Until recently, countries in the African meningitis belt were susceptible to devastating outbreaks, largely attributed to serogroup A Neisseria meningitidis (MenA). Vaccination with glycoconjugates of MenA capsular polysaccharide led to an almost complete elimination of MenA clinical cases. To understand the molecular basis of vaccine-induced protection, we generated a panel of oligosaccharide fragments of different lengths and tested them with polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies by inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, surface plasmon resonance, and competitive human serum bactericidal assay, which is a surrogate for protection. The epitope was shown to optimize between three and six repeating units and to be O-acetylated. The molecular interactions between a protective monoclonal antibody and a MenA capsular polysaccharide fragment were further elucidated at the atomic level by saturation transfer difference NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. The epitope consists of a trisaccharide anchored to the antibody via the O- and N-acetyl moieties through either H-bonding or CH-π interactions. In silico docking showed that 3-O-acetylation of the upstream residue is essential for antibody binding, while O-acetate could be equally accommodated at three and four positions of the other two residues. These results shed light on the mechanism of action of current MenA vaccines and provide a foundation for the rational design of improved therapies.
Humans, Neisseria meningitidis, Meningitis, Meningococcal, Polysaccharides, Bacterial, Meningococcal Vaccines, Vaccines, Conjugate, Antibodies, Bacterial, Epitopes, Crystallography, X-Ray, Acetylation, Adolescent, Child, Female, Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments, Male, Multicenter Studies as Topic, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic, Serum Bactericidal Antibody Assay, Molecular Docking Simulation, Serogroup, Immunogenicity, Vaccine
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011385117
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/312962
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Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/