The discovery and characterization of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) against influenza viruses have raised hopes for the development of monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based immunotherapy and the design of universal influenza vaccines. Only one human bnAb (CR8020) specifically recognizing group 2 influenza A viruses has been previously characterized that binds to a highly conserved epitope at the base of the hemagglutinin (HA) stem and has neutralizing activity against H3, H7, and H10 viruses. Here, we report a second group 2 bnAb, CR8043, which was derived from a different germ-line gene encoding a highly divergent amino acid sequence. CR8043 has in vitro neutralizing activity against H3 and H10 viruses and protects mice against challenge with a lethal dose of H3N2 and H7N7 viruses. The crystal structure and EM reconstructions of the CR8043-H3 HA complex revealed that CR8043 binds to a site similar to the CR8020 epitope but uses an alternative angle of approach and a distinct set of interactions. The identification of another antibody against the group 2 stem epitope suggests that this conserved site of vulnerability has great potential for design of therapeutics and vaccines.
Keywords: X-ray crystallography; antibody recognition; electron microscopy.