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This 3D printed protein model of an Antibody FAB Fragment bound to Meningococcal fHbp visualized as a ribbon and colored to visualize the different proteins (shades of FAB = green and fHbps = blue by the protein's secondary structure). Colored by atom type are the interlocking amino acids stabilizing the protein interaction. This 3D printed protein model was created from PDB ID: 5O14 Protein Description
Data obtained recently in the United Kingdom following a nationwide infant immunization program against serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis (MenB) reported >80% 4CMenB vaccine-mediated protection. Factor H-binding protein (fHbp) is a meningococcal virulence factor and a component of two new MenB vaccines. Here, we investigated the structural bases underlying the fHbp-dependent protective antibody response in humans, which might inform future antigen design efforts. We present the co-crystal structure of a human antibody Fab targeting fHbp. The vaccine-elicited Fab 1A12 is cross-reactive and targets an epitope highly conserved across the repertoire of three naturally occurring fHbp variants. The free Fab structure highlights conformational rearrangements occurring upon antigen binding. Importantly, 1A12 is bactericidal against MenB strains expressing fHbp from all three variants. Our results reveal important immunological features potentially contributing to the broad protection conferred by fHbp vaccination. Our studies fuel the rationale of presenting conserved protein epitopes when developing broadly protective vaccines.