The findings show precisely how a key part of the antibody, called the antigen binding fragment, or Fab, attaches to two adjacent protein molecules that make up the virus's outer shell.
This "crosslinking" attachment between molecules is repeated over the entire shell, interlocking the 30 molecular "rafts" that make up the shell and preventing structural changes needed for the virus to infect host cells, said Michael Rossmann, the Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences in Purdue's College of Science.
"The antibody crosslinking causes the virus to become rigid, and this rigidity prevents conformational changes to the virus needed to fuse with host cells," Rossmann said.
Findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared in October in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team included postdoctoral researcher Bärbel Kaufmann, other researchers at Purdue, the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the biotechnology company Crucell Holland B.V. in The Netherlands.
Learning how antibodies neutralize viruses is important for developing effective vaccines, Rossmann said.
"There are many antibodies that can neutralize West Nile virus," he said. "These findings concern a specific antibody, called CR4354. It uses an unusual approach to neutralize the virus. Normally an antibody binds to a single molecule, but now we see this crosslinking, which is quite clever because it ties everything rigidly together."
The researchers used a process called cryoelectron microscopy to take detailed pictures of the Fab-virus complex. They also used X-ray crystallography to learn the antibody's precise crystalline structure.
West Nile belongs to a family of viruses known as flaviviruses, which includes a number of dangerous insect-borne disease-causing viruses. West Nile virus causes a potentially fatal illness and has infected thousands of people in the United States over the past five years, killing more than 400 people in that time frame, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is endemic in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe and in the past decade has spread throughout North America and into Central and South America.
The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The paper was written by Kaufmann; doctoral student Matthew R. Vogt at the Washington University School of Medicine; Jaap Goudsmit, chief scientific officer at Crucell Holland; electron microscopist Heather A. Holdaway; Purdue postdoctoral researcher Anastasia A. Aksyuka; Paul R. Chipman, director of Purdue's structural biology electron microscopy facility; Richard Kuhn, professor and head of Purdue's Department of Biological Sciences; Michael S. Diamond, professor in the departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine; and Rossmann.Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences