Monoclonal Antibodies against Zika Virus NS1 Protein Confer Protection via Fcγ Receptor-Dependent and -Independent Pathways.

Affiliation

Yu L(#)(1), Liu X(#)(2), Ye X(#)(2), Su W(3), Zhang X(2)(4), Deng W(2)(4), Luo J(2), Xiang M(1), Guo W(1), Zhang S(2), Xu W(1), Yan Q(2)(4), Wang Q(2)(4), Cui Y(2)(4), Wu C(2), Guo W(2), Niu X(1), Zhang F(1), Lei C(1), Qu L(2), Chen L(5)(2)(3)(6)(4), Feng L(7)(6)(4).
Author information:
(1)Guangzhou Eighth People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
(2)State Key Laboratories of Respiratory Diseases, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Computational Biomedicine, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.
(3)School of Biomedical Sciences, Huaqiao University, Quanzhou, China.
(4)University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
(5)Guangzhou Eighth People's Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, China [Email] [Email]
(6)Guangzhou Regenerative Medicine and Health Guangdong Laboratory, Guangzhou, China.
(7)State Key Laboratories of Respiratory Diseases, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Computational Biomedicine, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China [Email] [Email]
(#)Contributed equally

Abstract

Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy causes congenital defects such as fetal microcephaly. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) have the potential to suppress ZIKV pathogenicity without enhancement of disease, but the pathways through which they confer protection remain obscure. Here, we report two types of NS1-targeted human MAbs that inhibit ZIKV infection through distinct mechanisms. MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 show a better efficacy than MAb 4F10 in suppressing ZIKV infection in C57BL/6 neonatal mice. Unlike MAb 4F10 that mainly triggers antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 not only trigger ADCC but inhibit ZIKV infection without Fcγ receptor-bearing effector cells, possibly at postentry stages. Destroying the Fc-mediated effector function of MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 reduces but does not abolish their protective effects, whereas destroying the effector function of MAb 4F10 eliminates the protective effects, suggesting that MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 engage both Fcγ receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. Further analysis reveals that MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 target the N-terminal region of NS1 protein, whereas MAb 4F10 targets the C-terminal region, implying that the protective efficacy of an NS1-targeted MAb may be associated with its epitope recognition. Our results illustrate that NS1-targeted MAbs have multifaceted protective effects and provide insights for the development of NS1-based vaccines and therapeutics.IMPORTANCE Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has been linked to congenital microcephaly during recent epidemics. No licensed antiviral drug or vaccine is available. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) inhibit ZIKV pathogenicity but do not enhance the disease as envelope protein-targeted MAbs do. However, the protection mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we show that in the presence or absence of Fcγ receptor-bearing effector cells, NS1-targeted human MAbs 3G2 and 4B8 inhibit ZIKV infection. Compared to MAb 4F10 that has no inhibitory effects without effector cells, 3G2 and 4B8 confer better protection in ZIKV-infected neonatal mice. Destroying the Fc-mediated effector function reduces but does not abolish the protection of 3G2 and 4B8, suggesting that they engage both Fcγ receptor-dependent and -independent pathways. The protective efficacy of NS1-targeted MAbs may be associated with their epitope recognition. Our findings will help to develop NS1-based vaccines and therapeutics.