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Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) has caused an alarming number of deaths throughout recorded human history, and novel prophylactics and therapeutics are necessary given its potential as a bioweapon. Only one monoclonal antibody has been identified to date that provides complete protection against Y. pestis. Here, we describe a second novel murine monoclonal antibody (F2H5) that provided complete protection against Y. pestis 141 infection when administered prophylactically to Balb/c mice (100 μg intravenously). We humanized F2H5, characterized its ability to bind to the Y. pestis F1 protein and further characterized the neutralizing epitope using computational and experimental approaches. While Western blot results suggested a linear epitope, peptide mapping using ELISA failed to identify an epitope, suggesting a conformational epitope instead. We adopted a computational approach based on Residue Contact Frequency to predict the site of antigen-antibody interaction and defined the F2H5/F1 binding site computationally. Based on computational approach, we determined that residues G104E105N106 in F1 were critical to F2H5 binding and that CDRH2 and CDRH3 of F2H5 interacted with F1. Our results show that combining computational approach and experimental approach can effectively identify epitopes.


Weicen Liu, Jun Ren, Jinlong Zhang, Xiaohong Song, Shuling Liu, Xiangyang Chi, Yi Chen, Zhonghua Wen, Jianmin Li, Wei Chen. Identification and characterization of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody that provides complete protection against Yersinia pestis. PloS one. 2017;12(5):e0177012

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PMID: 28486528

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