Direct Imaging of Interactions between an Icosahedral Virus and Conjugate Fab Fragments by Cryoelectron Microscopy and X-Ray Crystallography

Claudine Porta, Guoji Wang, Holland Cheng, Zhongguo Chen, Timothy S. Baker, John E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The binding properties of seven mouse monoclonal antibodies (McAbs) raised against cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) were characterized by conventional and inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. McAb binding to CPMV on electron microscope (EM) grids was also assayed with gold-labeled anti-mouse antibodies. Two of the seven McAbs (5B2 and 10B7) were found to bind tighter to CPMV than the others in the inhibition ELISA and the EM assay, Fab fragments from both of these McAbs were prepared and complexed with CPMV in solution. Electron micrographs of flash frozen (vitrified) samples of native CPMV and CPMV complexed with Fab fragments from McAbs 5B2 and 10B7 as well as IgGs from 5B2 were recorded and reconstructions were computed at 23 Å resolution for the CPMV/Fab complexes and 30 Å resolution for the CPMV/IgG complex. Structures of all three complexes clearly displayed the Fab fragments distributed with icosahedral symmetry on the surface of CPMV. The IgG bound in a monodentate fashion with only one Fab attached to the virus surface. Fab fragments from 5B2 and 10B7 bound to nearly identical positions. The refined 2.8 Å X-ray structure of CPMV was used to identify the roughly 30 amino acids covered by the Fab fragments. The "footprint" spans a subunit interface and appears spatially similar to antigenic site 3B on poliovirus. In a previous, preliminary report of the CPMV/Fab 5B2 complex (Wang et al., 1992, Nature 355, 275-278) the wrong enantiomorph of the reconstruction was chosen. This was corrected and, since the Fib binds close to a mirror plane, the change in the footprint was minor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-788
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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