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Flu Antibody’s ‘One-Handed Grab’ May Boost Effort toward Universal Vaccine

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and Sea Lane Biotechnologies have solved the co-crystal structure of a human antibody that can neutralize influenza viruses in a unique way

 

The antibody recognizes the crucial structure that flu viruses use to attach to host cells, even though previously this structure had been thought too small for an antibody to grab effectively.

The immune protein manages to hit this precise spot by using just a small part of its target-grabbing apparatus. In so doing, it can neutralize a broad range of dangerous flu viruses.

“This highly focused binding to the receptor binding site using only a single loop on the antibody has never been seen before, and it’s really fascinating; it gives us some good ideas about designs for vaccines and therapies,” said Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology at Scripps Research. Wilson was senior investigator of the study along with Ramesh R. Bhatt of Sea Lane Biotechnologies. The report appears online ahead of print on September 16, 2012, in the journal Nature.

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