Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are potential therapeutic molecules and valuable tools for studying conserved viral targets for vaccine and drug design. Interestingly, antibody responses to conserved epitopes can be highly convergent at the molecular level. Human antibodies targeting a number of viral antigens have often been found to utilize a restricted set of immunoglobulin germline genes in different individuals. Here we review recent knowledge on VH1-69-encoded antibodies in antiviral responses to influenza virus, HCV, and HIV-1. These antibodies share common genetic and structural features, and often develop neutralizing activity against a broad spectrum of viral strains. Understanding the genetic and structural characteristics of such antibodies and the target epitopes should help advance novel strategies to elicit bnAbs through vaccination.
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