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Viruses 2018, 10(5), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10050231

An Immunodominant Region of the Envelope Glycoprotein of Small Ruminant Lentiviruses May Function as Decoy Antigen

Institute of Virology and Immunology, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern and Federal Department of Home Affairs, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonprimate Lentivirus)
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Abstract

(1) Background: Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) persist in infected goats that mount a strong humoral immune response characterized by low neutralizing titers. In this study, we characterized the antibody response to SU5, a variable, immunodominant epitope of the envelope glycoprotein of SRLV. We tested the working hypothesis that the variability of SU5 reflects escape from neutralizing antibody. (2) Methods: Affinity purified anti-SU5 antibody were tested for their neutralizing activity to the homologous lentivirus. Virus culture supernatant—in native form or following sonication and filtration—was used to test the ability of free envelope glycoproteins to compete for binding in a SU5-peptide-ELISA. (3) Results: Anti-SU5 antibodies are not neutralizing, strongly suggesting that they do not bind intact viral particles. In contrast, shed envelope glycoproteins efficiently compete for binding in a SU5-ELISA, providing convincing evidence that the SU5 epitope is exposed only on shed envelope glycoproteins. (4) Conclusions: Our results show that the antibody engaging SU5 is not neutralizing and does not appear to bind to SU expressed at the surface of virus particles. We propose that SU5 is a potential decoy epitope exposed on shaded envelope glycoproteins, luring the humoral immune response in committing an original antigenic sin to a functionally irrelevant epitope. View Full-Text
Keywords: caprine arthritis encephalitis virus CAEV; small ruminant lentiviruses SRLV; decoy antigen; immunodominant epitope; escape; neutralizing antibody; lentivirus; original antigenic sin caprine arthritis encephalitis virus CAEV; small ruminant lentiviruses SRLV; decoy antigen; immunodominant epitope; escape; neutralizing antibody; lentivirus; original antigenic sin
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Zahno, M.-L.; Bertoni, G. An Immunodominant Region of the Envelope Glycoprotein of Small Ruminant Lentiviruses May Function as Decoy Antigen. Viruses 2018, 10, 231.

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