Paramyxoviruses are enveloped negative-strand RNA viruses that are significant human and animal pathogens. Most paramyxoviruses infect host cells via the concerted action of a tetrameric attachment protein (variously called HN, H, or G) that binds either sialic acid or protein receptors on target cells and a trimeric fusion protein (F) that merges the viral envelope with the plasma membrane at neutral pH. F initially folds to a metastable prefusion conformation that becomes activated via a cleavage event during cellular trafficking. Upon receptor binding, the attachment protein, which consists of a globular head anchored to the membrane via a helical tetrameric stalk, triggers a major conformation change in F which results in fusion of virus and host cell membranes. We recently proposed a model for F activation in which the attachment protein head domains move following receptor binding to expose HN stalk residues critical for triggering F. To test the model in the context of wild-type viral glycoproteins, we used a restricted-diversity combinatorial Fab library and phage display to rapidly generate synthetic antibodies (sAbs) against multiple domains of the paramyxovirus parainfluenza 5 (PIV5) pre- and postfusion F and HN. As predicted by the model, sAbs that bind to the critical F-triggering region of the HN stalk do not disrupt receptor binding or neuraminidase (NA) activity but are potent inhibitors of fusion. An inhibitory prefusion F-specific sAb recognized a quaternary antigenic site and may inhibit fusion by preventing F refolding or by blocking the F-HN interaction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science