Puchades C, et al. Epitope mapping of diverse influenza Hemagglutinin drug candidates using HDX-MS. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 18;9(1):4735
Epitope characterization is critical for elucidating the mechanism of action of drug candidates. However, traditional high-resolution epitope mapping techniques are not well suited for screening numerous drug candidates recognizing a similar target. Here, we use Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) to explore the conformational impact of diverse drug molecules binding on Hemagglutinin (HA), the major surface antigen of influenza viruses. We optimized a semi-automated HDX-MS workflow to systematically probe distantly related HA subtypes in complex with 4 different drug candidates, ranging from a monoclonal antibody to a small synthetic peptide. This fast, cost-effective HDX-MS epitope mapping approach accurately determined the main antigenic site in all cases. Moreover, our studies reveal distinct changes in the local conformational dynamics of HA associated to the molecular mechanism of neutralization, establishing a marker for broad anti-HA activity. Taken together, these findings highlight the potential for HDX-MS epitope mapping-based screening to identify promising candidates against HA at early stages of drug discovery.
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