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posted on 07.05.2021, 04:48 by Ruben Marrero Diaz de Villegas, Cristina Seki, Nora M. Mattion, Guido A. König

Molecular knowledge of virus–antibody interactions is essential for the development of better vaccines and for a timely assessment of the spread and severity of epidemics. For foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) research, in particular, computational methods for antigen–antibody (Ag–Ab) interaction, and cross-antigenicity characterization and prediction are critical to design engineered vaccines with robust, long-lasting, and wider response against different strains. We integrated existing structural modeling and prediction algorithms to study the surface properties of FMDV Ags and Abs and their interaction. First, we explored four modeling and two Ag–Ab docking methods and implemented a computational pipeline based on a reference Ag–Ab structure for FMDV of serotype C, to be used as a source protocol for the study of unknown interaction pairs of Ag–Ab. Next, we obtained the variable region sequence of two monoclonal IgM and IgG antibodies that recognize and neutralize antigenic site A (AgSA) epitopes from South America serotype A FMDV and developed two peptide ELISAs for their fine epitope mapping. Then, we applied the previous Ag–Ab molecular structure modeling and docking protocol further scored by functional peptide ELISA data. This work highlights a possible different behavior in the immune response of IgG and IgM Ab isotypes. The present method yielded reliable Ab models with differential paratopes and Ag interaction topologies in concordance with their isotype classes. Moreover, it demonstrates the applicability of computational prediction techniques to the interaction phenomena between the FMDV immunodominant AgSA and Abs, and points out their potential utility as a metric for virus-related, massive Ab repertoire analysis or as a starting point for recombinant vaccine design.

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