Quantitative relationships between an influenza virus and neutralizing antibody

Virology. 1987 Aug;159(2):288-98. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(87)90466-1.


In this quantitative study of the interaction of influenza virus with neutralizing antibody we have determined the maximum number of antibody molecules which can bind to the haemagglutinin (HA) of native influenza A/FPV/Rostock/34 (H7N1) particles in aqueous suspension and the minimum number which is required to cause neutralization. Using radiolabelled immunoglobulins approximately one IgG molecule, whether of monoclonal or polyclonal origin, binds per HA spike under conditions of antibody saturation. In the same manner, we have determined that when infectivity is neutralized by 63% (1/e) about 70 molecules of monoclonal IgGs HC2 and HC10 were bound per virus particle and this is supported by independent evidence from electron microscopy. However, the kinetics of neutralization were single-hit or at most, under critical conditions of low temperature (4 degrees) and minimal neutralizing concentrations of antibody, two-hit. This apparent conflict is reconciled by a hypothesis which proposes that neutralization occurs only when antibody binds to certain "neutralization relevant" HA spikes which are in the minority. It is suggested that these only differ from the majority of "neutralization irrelevant" HA spikes by their transmembrane interaction with the core of the virion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G