What is it about?

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a major health care burden, affecting almost 3% of the global population. The conserved epitope comprising residues 412 to 423 of the viral E2 glycoprotein is a valid vaccine candidate because antibodies recognizing this region exhibit potent neutralizing activity. This epitope adopts a -hairpin conformation when bound to neutralizing MAbs. We explored the potential of cyclic peptides mimicking this structure to elicit anti-HCV antibodies. MAbs that specifically recognize a cyclic variant of the epitope bind to soluble E2 with a lower affinity than other blocking antibodies and do not neutralize virus. The structure of the complex between one such MAb and the cyclic epitope, together with new structural data showing the linear peptide bound to neutralizing MAbs in extended conformations, suggests that the epitope displays a conformational flexibility that contributes to neutralization escape. Such features can be of major importance for the design of epitopebased anti-HCV vaccines.

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Why is it important?

The information gained informs vaccine development

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This page is a summary of: Generation and Characterization of Monoclonal Antibodies against a Cyclic Variant of Hepatitis C Virus E2 Epitope 412-422, Journal of Virology, January 2016, ASM Journals, DOI: 10.1128/jvi.02397-15.
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