Identification of Epitopes on Rhinovirus 89 Capsid Proteins Capable of Inducing Neutralizing Antibodies

Katarzyna Niespodziana, Clarissa R Cabauatan, Petra Pazderova, Phyllis C Vacal, Judith Wortmann, Walter Keller, Peter Errhalt, Rudolf Valenta

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article


Rhinoviruses (RVs) are major causes of the common cold, but they can also trigger exacerbations of asthma. More than 160 different RV strains exist and can be classified into three genetic species (RV-A, RV-B and RV-C) which bind to different receptors on human cells including intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) or the cadherin-related family member 3 (CDHR3). Epitopes located in the RV capsid have mainly been determined for RV2, a minor-group RV-A strain binding to LDLR, and for RV14, a major-group RV-B strain binding to ICAM-1. In order to study epitopes involved in the neutralization of RV89, an ICAM-1-binding RV-A strain which is highly different from RV2 and RV14 in terms of receptor specificity and sequence, respectively, we analyzed the specificity and epitopes of a highly neutralizing antiserum using recombinantly produced RV89 capsid proteins (VP1, VP2, VP3 and VP4), recombinant fragments and synthetic overlapping peptides thereof. We found that the antiserum which neutralized in vitro RV89 infection up to a dilution of 1:24,000 reacted with the capsid proteins VP1 and VP2 but not with VP3 and VP4. The neutralizing antibodies recognized recombinant fragments comprising approximately 100 amino acids of the N- and C-terminus of VP1 and the middle part of VP2, in particular, three peptides which, according to molecular modeling based on the three-dimensional structure of RV16, were surface-exposed on the viral capsid. Two recombinant fusion proteins containing the identified peptides fused to hepatitis B (HBV)-derived preS as a carrier protein induced upon immunization of rabbits antibodies capable of neutralizing in vitro RV89 infections. Interestingly, the virus-neutralizing epitopes determined for RV89 corresponded to those determined for minor-group RV2 binding to LDL and major-group RV14 belonging to the RV-B species, which are highly different from RV89. Our results indicate that highly different RV strains, even when reacting with different receptors, seem to engage similar parts of their capsid in the infection process. These results may be important for the design of active and passive immunization strategies for RV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5113
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2022


  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins/chemistry
  • Enterovirus Infections
  • Epitopes
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1/metabolism
  • Peptides
  • Rabbits
  • Rhinovirus


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