Identification of neutralizing epitopes in the preS2 domain of the hepatitis B virus

Keigo Yato, Mami Matsuda, Kento Fukano, Tomohisa Tanaka, Kohji Moriishi, Hironori Nishitsuji, Kunitada Shimotohno, Koji Tamura, Takaji Wakita, Masamichi Muramatsu, Takanobu Kato, Ryosuke Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health problem. The sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) has been identified as an essential HBV receptor. Human hepatocytes are infected with HBV via binding between the preS1 region of the HBV large envelope protein and the NTCP. However, the role of preS2 in HBV entry is not well understood. In this study, we induced anti-preS2 serum in mice by DNA immunization, and showed that the resulting antiserum neutralized HBV infectivity. Competition assays using overlapping peptides suggested that the neutralizing epitope is located in the N-terminal region of preS2. In addition, monoclonal antibodies targeting the N-terminal region of preS2 neutralized HBV infectivity, indicating that these domains are critical epitopes for viral neutralization. These findings provide new insights into the HBV entry machinery while suggesting a novel modality for the prevention and treatment of HBV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number199014
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusPublished - 02-01-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research


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