Expansion of epitope cross-reactivity by anti-idiotype modulation of the primary humoral response

G. F. Denisova, M. Zerwanitzer, D. A. Denisov, E. Spectorman, I. Mondor, Q. Sattentau, J. M. Gershoni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary humoral response produces antigen-specific antibodies so to clear the initial infection, and generates a population of corresponding memory cells to prevent infection by future encounters with the same pathogen. The continuous genetic modification of a pathogen's exterior, however, is one mechanism used to evade the immune defenses of its host. Here we describe a novel means, involving anti-idiotypic antibodies, by which the host can counteract such pathogen genetic alterations by modulation of its primary humoral response. An autoimmune response against primary antibodies, Abl's, creates anti-idiotypic antibodies (Ab2's), some of which (designated Ab2α) are able to bind the Ab1/antigen complex. We have discovered that binding of Ab2α to its corresponding Ab1 can expand Ab1's ability to bind variations of its antigen. This expanded epitope cross-reactivity is shown not only to increase the binding activity of Ab1 but also its ability to neutralize a variant infectious virus. MAb M77 is an Ab1, which is highly strain-specific for the HIV-1 envelope protein gp120(IIIB). This Ab1 can be rendered cross-reactive and neutralizing for an otherwise resistant HIV strain by its interaction with a unique anti-idiotypic Ab2α (GV12). Furthermore, molecular characterization of this expanded cross-reactivity was accomplished using combinatorial phage display peptide libraries. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Anti-idiotypic network
  • Antigen genetic drift
  • Phage display epitope library


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