SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants feature highly mutated spike proteins with extraordinary abilities in evading antibodies isolated earlier in the pandemic. Investigation of memory B cells from patients primarily with breakthrough infections with the Delta variant enables isolation of a number of neutralizing antibodies cross-reactive to heterologous variants of concern (VOCs) including Omicron variants (BA.1-BA.4). Structural studies identify altered complementarity determining region (CDR) amino acids and highly unusual heavy chain CDR2 insertions respectively in two representative cross-neutralizing antibodies—YB9-258 and YB13-292. These features are putatively introduced by somatic hypermutation and they are heavily involved in epitope recognition to broaden neutralization breadth. Previously, insertions/deletions were rarely reported for antiviral antibodies except for those induced by HIV-1 chronic infections. These data provide molecular mechanisms for cross-neutralization of heterologous SARS-CoV-2 variants by antibodies isolated from Delta variant infected patients with implications for future vaccination strategy.

Fuente: Nature Communications
Published: 24 February 2023