Protection by anti-beta-glucan antibodies is associated with restricted beta-1,3 glucan binding specificity and inhibition of fungal growth and adherence

PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5392. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005392. Epub 2009 Apr 28.


Anti-beta-glucan antibodies elicited by a laminarin-conjugate vaccine confer cross-protection to mice challenged with major fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus and Cryptococcus neoformans. To gain insights into protective beta-glucan epitope(s) and protection mechanisms, we studied two anti-beta-glucan monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with identical complementarity-determining regions but different isotypes (mAb 2G8, IgG2b and mAb 1E12, IgM). C. albicans, the most relevant fungal pathogen for humans, was used as a model.Both mAbs bound to fungal cell surface and to the beta1,3-beta1,6 glucan of the fungal cell wall skeleton, as shown by immunofluorescence, electron-microscopy and ELISA. They were also equally unable to opsonize fungal cells in a J774 macrophage phagocytosis and killing assay. However, only the IgG2b conferred substantial protection against mucosal and systemic candidiasis in passive vaccination experiments in rodents. Competition ELISA and microarray analyses using sequence-defined glucan oligosaccharides showed that the protective IgG2b selectively bound to beta1,3-linked (laminarin-like) glucose sequences whereas the non-protective IgM bound to beta1,6- and beta1,4-linked glucose sequences in addition to beta1,3-linked ones. Only the protective IgG2b recognized heterogeneous, polydisperse high molecular weight cell wall and secretory components of the fungus, two of which were identified as the GPI-anchored cell wall proteins Als3 and Hyr1. In addition, only the IgG2b inhibited in vitro two critical virulence attributes of the fungus, hyphal growth and adherence to human epithelial cells.Our study demonstrates that the isotype of anti-beta-glucan antibodies may affect details of the beta-glucan epitopes recognized, and this may be associated with a differing ability to inhibit virulence attributes of the fungus and confer protection in vivo. Our data also suggest that the anti-virulence properties of the IgG2b mAb may be linked to its capacity to recognize beta-glucan epitope(s) on some cell wall components that exert critical functions in fungal cell wall structure and adherence to host cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Fungal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Fungal / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / genetics
  • Antigens, Fungal / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / immunology
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Candida albicans / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Wall / immunology
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Female
  • Fungi / growth & development
  • Fungi / immunology*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Fungi / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin M / administration & dosage
  • Immunoglobulin M / genetics
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • beta-Glucans / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • beta-Glucans / immunology*
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Fungal
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • beta-1,3-D-glucan
  • beta-Glucans