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Viral Capsid, Antibody, and Receptor Interactions: Experimental Analysis of the Antibody Escape Evolution of Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a small nonenveloped single-stranded DNA virus that causes serious diseases in dogs worldwide. The original strain of the virus (CPV-2) emerged in dogs during the late 1970s due to a host range switch of a virus similar to the feline panleukopenia virus that infected another host. The virus that emerged in dogs had altered capsid receptor and antibody binding sites, with some changes affecting both functions. Further receptor and antibody binding changes arose when the virus became better adapted to dogs or to other hosts. Here, we used in vitro selection and deep sequencing to reveal how two antibodies with known interactions select for escape mutations in CPV. The antibodies bound two distinct epitopes, and one largely overlapped the host receptor binding site. We also generated mutated antibody variants with altered binding structures. Viruses were passaged with wild-type (WT) or mutated antibodies, and their genomes were deep sequenced during the selective process. A small number of mutations were detected only within the capsid protein gene during the first few passages of selection, and most sites remained polymorphic or were slow to go to fixation. Mutations arose both within and outside the antibody binding footprints on the capsids, and all avoided the transferrin receptor type 1 binding footprint. Many selected mutations matched those that have arisen in the natural evolution of the virus. The patterns observed reveal the mechanisms by which these variants have been selected in nature and provide a better understanding of the interactions between antibody and receptor selections.

IMPORTANCE Antibodies protect animals against infection by many different viruses and other pathogens, and we are gaining new information about the epitopes that induce antibody responses against viruses and the structures of the bound antibodies. However, less is known about the processes of antibody selection and antigenic escape and the constraints that apply in this system. Here, we used an in vitro model system and deep genome sequencing to reveal the mutations that arose in the virus genome during selection by each of two monoclonal antibodies or their mutated variants. High-resolution structures of each of the Fab:capsid complexes revealed their binding interactions. The wild-type antibodies or their mutated variants allowed us to examine how changes in antibody structure influence the mutational selection patterns seen in the virus. The results shed light on the processes of antibody binding, neutralization escape, and receptor binding, and they likely have parallels for many other viruses.

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