Mapping Antibody-Antigen Interactions
The human immune system creates antibodies in response to viral threats such as SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), influenza (Flu), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or Ebola/Marburg viruses. These antibodies recognize proteins on the surface of the virus, so-called antigens. In the best-case scenario, human antibodies neutralize viruses by blocking the interaction of viruses with the surface of the human cell. Viral vaccines mimic the effect of infection to provoke our immune system to elicit neutralizing antibodies, thereby preventing infection during later exposures. Unfortunately, not all humans create neutralizing antibodies quickly enough upon infection, and there are no effective vaccines available for many pathogens.
The Schey lab is collaborating with the laboratories of Dr. James Crowe III and Dr. Jens Meiler at Vanderbilt to use mass spectrometry tools to determine antibody-antigen interactions. Tools such as hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) and crosslinking mass spectrometry (XL-MS) are being used to examine a variety of antibodies to proteins from viruses mentioned above. Knowledge of epitope-paratope interactions will inform on developing new therapeutic antibodies for treating viral infections.
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