Panke Qu, Chao Zhang,Min Li, Weimin Ma,Pei Xiong, Qingwei Liu,Gang Zou, Dimitri Lavillette,Feifei Yin, Xia Jin and Zhong Huang
Zika virus (ZIKV) infection poses a serious threat to human health. However, no licensed vaccine or therapeutic drug is currently available for ZIKV. We have previously shown that recombinant ZIKV E80 protein induced potent neutralizing antibody response and protected mice from lethal viral challenge. In the present study, we isolated five ZIKV neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from E80-immunized mice. These five mAbs specifically bound and neutralized Asian-lineage ZIKV strains. Epitope mapping revealed that all of the five mAbs recognized a novel linear epitope located on the glycan loop of E protein domain I. Sequence alignment revealed that the epitope was extremely conserved in ZIKV but highly variable between ZIKV and other flaviviruses. Thus, these five mAbs form a new class of anti-ZIKV antibodies exhibiting broad-spectrum neutralization on Asian-lineage ZIKV. A representative of this mAb class, 5F8, was found to exert inhibitory function in vitro primarily at the early stage of the post-attachment viral entry process. Importantly, mAb 5F8 was able to confer full protection in a mouse model of ZIKV lethal infection. Our results have strong implications for developing anti-ZIKV vaccines and therapeutic mAbs.