• Diagnosing Zika virus infection against a background of other flaviviruses: Studies in high resolution serological analysis.

      Hansen, Sören; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Faye, Oumar; Ndiaye, Oumar; Böhlken-Fascher, Susanne; Pessôa, Rodrigo; Hufert, Frank; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Frank, Ronald; Czerny, Claus-Peter; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-03-06)
      BACKGROUND: Antibody-mediated targeting of regulatory T cell receptors such as CTLA-4 enhances antitumor immune responses against several cancer entities including malignant melanoma. Yet, therapeutic success in patients remains variable underscoring the need for novel combinatorial approaches. METHODS: Here we established a vaccination strategy that combines engagement of the nucleic acid-sensing pattern recognition receptor RIG-I, antigen and CTLA-4 blockade. We used in vitro transcribed 5'-triphosphorylated RNA (3pRNA) to therapeutically target the RIG-I pathway. We performed in vitro functional analysis in bone-marrow derived dendritic cells and investigated RIG-I-enhanced vaccines in different murine melanoma models. FINDINGS: We found that protein vaccination together with RIG-I ligation via 3pRNA strongly synergizes with CTLA-4 blockade to induce expansion and activation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells that translates into potent antitumor immunity. RIG-I-induced cross-priming of cytotoxic T cells as well as antitumor immunity were dependent on the host adapter protein MAVS and type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling and were mediated by dendritic cells. INTERPRETATION: Overall, our data demonstrate the potency of a novel combinatorial vaccination strategy combining RIG-I-driven immunization with CTLA-4 blockade to prevent and treat experimental melanoma. FUND: German Research Foundation (SFB 1335, SFB 1371), EMBO, Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, German Cancer Aid, European Hematology Association, DKMS Foundation for Giving Life, Dres. Carl Maximilian and Carl Manfred Bayer-Foundation.
    • Multiple antibody targets on herpes B glycoproteins B and D identified by screening sera of infected rhesus macaques with peptide microarrays.

      Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Abd El Wahed, Ahmed; Beutling, Ulrike; Jentsch, Dieter; Motzkus, Dirk; Frank, Ronald; Hunsmann, Gerhard; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Fritz, Hans-Joachim; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      Herpes B virus (or Herpesvirus simiae or Macacine herpesvirus 1) is endemic in many populations of macaques, both in the wild and in captivity. The virus elicits only mild clinical symptoms (if any) in monkeys, but can be transmitted by various routes, most commonly via bites, to humans where it causes viral encephalitis with a high mortality rate. Hence, herpes B constitutes a considerable occupational hazard for animal caretakers, veterinarians and laboratory personnel. Efforts are therefore being made to reduce the risk of zoonotic infection and to improve prognosis after accidental exposure. Among the measures envisaged are serological surveillance of monkey colonies and specific diagnosis of herpes B zoonosis against a background of antibodies recognizing the closely related human herpes simplex virus (HSV). 422 pentadecapeptides covering, in an overlapping fashion, the entire amino acid sequences of herpes B proteins gB and gD were synthesized and immobilized on glass slides. Antibodies present in monkey sera that bind to subsets of the peptide collection were detected by microserological techniques. With 42 different rhesus macaque sera, 114 individual responses to 18 different antibody target regions (ATRs) were recorded, 17 of which had not been described earlier. This finding may pave the way for a peptide-based, herpes B specific serological diagnostic test.
    • Species-Specific Conservation of Linear Antigenic Sites on Vaccinia Virus A27 Protein Homologs of Orthopoxviruses.

      Ahsendorf, Henrike P; Gan, Li L; Eltom, Kamal H; Abd El Wahed, Ahmed; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Roper, Rachel L; Beutling, Ulrike; Broenstrup, Mark; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Hoelzle, Ludwig E; et al. (MPDI, 2019-05-29)
      The vaccinia virus (VACV) A27 protein and its homologs, which are found in a large number of members of the genus Orthopoxvirus (OPXV), are targets of viral neutralization by host antibodies. We have mapped six binding sites (epitopes #1A: aa 32-39, #1B: aa 28-33, #1C: aa 26-31, #1D: 28-34, #4: aa 9-14, and #5: aa 68-71) of A27 specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) using peptide arrays. MAbs recognizing epitopes #1A-D and #4 neutralized VACV Elstree in a complement dependent way (50% plaque-reduction: 12.5-200 µg/mL). Fusion of VACV at low pH was blocked through inhibition of epitope #1A. To determine the sequence variability of the six antigenic sites, 391 sequences of A27 protein homologs available were compared. Epitopes #4 and #5 were conserved among most of the OPXVs, while the sequential epitope complex #1A-D was more variable and, therefore, responsible for species-specific epitope characteristics. The accurate and reliable mapping of defined epitopes on immuno-protective proteins such as the A27 of VACV enables phylogenetic studies and insights into OPXV evolution as well as to pave the way to the development of safer vaccines and chemical or biological antivirals.