Neutralizing antibodies can prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, one of the leading causes of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Here, we characterized the immunoglobulin repertoire of memory B-cell antibodies against a linear epitope in the central front layer of the HCV envelope (E2; amino acids 483-499) in patients who were infected in a single-source outbreak. A reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-based immunoglobulin gene cloning and recombinant expression approach was used to express monoclonal antibodies from HCV E2 peptide-binding immunoglobulin G-positive memory B cells. We identified highly mutated antibodies with a neutralizing effect in vitro against different genotype isolates sharing similar gene features. Our data confirm the importance of VH1-69 use for neutralizing activity. The data offer a promising basis for vaccine research and the use of anti-E2 antibodies as a means of passive immunization.
Keywords: HCV; HCV envelope (E2) protein; anti-D cohort; memory B cells; neutralizing antibodies.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.