Novel Cross-Reactive Monoclonal Antibodies against Ebolavirus Glycoproteins Show Protection in a Murine Challenge Model.

Duehr, J., Wohlbold, T. J., Oestereich, L., Chromikova, V., Amanat, F., Rajendran, M., Gomez-Medina, S., Mena, I., tenOever, B. R., Garcia-Sastre, A., Basler, C. F., Munoz-Fontela, C. and Krammer, F.

J Virol 09/06/2017

PMID: 28592526


Out of an estimated 31,100 cases since their discovery in 1976, ebolaviruses have caused approximately 13,000 deaths. The vast majority ( approximately 11,000) of these occurred during the 2013-2016 West African epidemic. Three out of five species in the genus are known to cause Ebola Virus Disease in humans. Several monoclonal antibodies against the ebolavirus glycoprotein are currently in development as therapeutics. However, there is still a paucity of monoclonal antibodies that can cross-react between the glycoproteins of different ebolavirus species, and the mechanism of these monoclonal antibody therapeutics is still not understood in detail. Here, we generated a panel of eight murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) utilizing a prime-boost vaccination regimen with a Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein expression plasmid followed by infection with a vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein. We tested the binding breadth of the resulting monoclonal antibodies using a set of recombinant surface glycoproteins from Reston, Tai Forest, Bundibugyo, Zaire, Sudan, and Marburg viruses and found two antibodies that showed pan-ebolavirus binding. An in vivo Stat2(-/-) mouse model was utilized to test the ability of these MAbs to protect from infection with a vesicular stomatitis virus expressing the Zaire ebolavirus glycoprotein. Several of our antibodies, including the broadly binding ones, protected mice from mortality despite lacking neutralization capability in vitro, suggesting their protection may be mediated by Fc-FcR interactions. Indeed, three antibodies displayed cellular phagocytosis and/or antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity in vitro Our antibodies, specifically the two identified cross-reactive monoclonal antibodies (KL-2E5 and KL-2H7), might add to the understanding of anti-ebolavirus humoral immunity.IMPORTANCE This study describes the generation of a panel of novel anti-ebolavirus glycoprotein monoclonal antibodies, including two antibodies with broad cross-reactivity to all known ebolavirus species. The antibodies were raised using a heterologous DNA-viral vector prime-boost regimen, resulting in a high proportion of cross-reactive antibodies (25%). Similar vaccination regimens have been used successfully to induce broad protection against influenza viruses in humans, and our limited data indicate that this might be a useful strategy for filovirus vaccines as well. Several of our antibodies showed protective efficacy when tested in a novel murine challenge model and may be developed into future therapeutics.