Influenza is a contagious acute respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus infection. Hemagglutinin (HA) is an important target in the therapeutic treatment and diagnostic detection of the influenza virus. Influenza A virus encompasses several different HA subtypes with different strains, which are constantly changing. In this study, we identified a fully human H1N1 neutralizing antibody (32D6) via an Epstein-Barr virus-immortalized B cell-based technology. 32D6 specifically neutralizes the clinically isolated H1N1 strains after the 2009 pandemic but not the earlier strains. The epitope was identified through X-ray crystallographic analysis of the 32D6-Fab/HA1 complex structure, which revealed a unique loop conformation located on the top surface of HA. The major region is composed of two peptide segments (residues 172–177 and 206–213), which form an abreast loop conformation. The residue T262 between the two loops forms a conformational epitope for recognition by 32D6. Three water molecules were observed at the interface of HA and the heavy chain, and they may constitute a stabilizing element for the 32D6-HA association. In addition, each 32D6-Fab is likely capable of blocking one HA trimer. This study provides important information on the strain specificity of 32D6 for the therapeutic treatment and detection of viral infection.
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