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MHC-II constrains the natural neutralizing antibody response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike RBM in humans

By Andrea Castro, Kivilcim Ozturk, Maurizio Zanetti, Hannah Carter

Posted 28 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.26.424449

SARS-CoV-2 antibodies develop within two weeks of infection, but wane relatively rapidly post-infection, raising concerns about whether antibody responses will provide protection upon re-exposure. Here we revisit T-B cooperation as a prerequisite for effective and durable neutralizing antibody responses centered on a mutationally constrained RBM B cell epitope. T-B cooperation requires co-processing of B and T cell epitopes by the same B cell and is subject to MHC-II restriction. We evaluated MHC-II constraints relevant to the neutralizing antibody response to a mutationally-constrained B cell epitope in the receptor binding motif (RBM) of the spike protein. Examining common MHC-II alleles, we found that peptides surrounding this key B cell epitope are predicted to bind poorly, suggesting a lack MHC-II support in T-B cooperation, impacting generation of high-potency neutralizing antibodies in the general population. Additionally, we found that multiple microbial peptides had potential for RBM cross-reactivity, supporting previous exposures as a possible source of T cell memory. Graphical abstract O_FIG O_LINKSMALLFIG WIDTH=200 HEIGHT=193 SRC="FIGDIR/small/424449v1_ufig1.gif" ALT="Figure 1"> View larger version (38K): org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@d332ccorg.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1ac1a95org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@5688dorg.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1133d83_HPS_FORMAT_FIGEXP M_FIG C_FIG

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