An outbreak of the hand-foot-mouth disease with severe neurological cases, mainly caused by the genotype C1 enterovirus A71 (EV-A71), occurred in Taiwan between 2018 and early 2019. In the recent decade, the most dominant EV-A71 genotypes in Taiwan were B5 and C4 but changed to C1 in 2018. Antibody-mediated immunity plays a key role in limiting the EV-A71 illness in humans. However, the level of neutralizing activities against genotype C1 virus by human polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) remains largely unclear. In the study, we demonstrated that that 39% (9 in 23) of post-infection sera from the genotype B5- or C4-infected patients in 2014-2017 exhibit reduced titers with the 2018-2019 genotype C1 viruses than with the earlier B5 and C4 viruses tested. This finding with polyclonal sera is confirmed with human MAbs derived from genotype B5 virus-infected individuals. The 2018-2019 genotype C1 virus is resistant to the majority of canyon-targeting human MAbs, which may be associated with the residue change near or at the bottom of the canyon region on the viral capsid. The remaining three antibodies (16-2-11B, 16-3-4D, and 17-1-12A), which target VP1 S241 on the 5-fold vertex, VP3 E81 on the 3-fold plateau and VP2 D84 on the 2-fold plateau of genotype C1 viral capsid, respectively, retained neutralizing activities with variable potencies. These neutralizing antibodies were also found to be protective against a lethal challenge of the 2018-2019 genotype C1 virus in an hSCARB2-transgenic mice model. These results indicate that the EV-A71-specific antibody response may consist of a fraction of poorly neutralizing antibodies against 2018-2019 genotype C1 viruses among a subset of previously infected individuals. Epitope mapping of protective antibodies that recognize the emerging genotype C1 virus has implications for anti-EV-A71 MAbs and the vaccine field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas