Immunoglobulin G antibody-mediated enhancement of measles virus infection can bypass the protective antiviral immune response

Ianko D. Iankov, Manoj Pandey, Mary Harvey, Guy E. Griesmann, Mark J. Federspiel, Stephen J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Antibodies to viral surface glycoproteins play a crucial role in immunity to measles by blocking both virus attachment and subsequent fusion with the host cell membrane. Here, we demonstrate that certain immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies can also enhance the entry of measles virus (MV) into monocytes and macrophages. Antibody-dependent enhancement of infectivity was observed in mouse and human macrophages using virions opsonized by a murine monoclonal antibody against the MV hemagglutinin (H) glycoprotein, polyclonal mouse anti-MV IgG, or diluted measles-immune human sera. Neither H-specific Fab fragments nor H-specific IgM could enhance MV entry in monocytes or macrophages, indicating involvement of a Fc γ receptor (FcγR)-mediated mechanism. Preincubation with an anti-fusion protein (anti-F) monoclonal antibody or a fusion-inhibitory peptide blocked infection, indicating that a functional F protein was required for viral internalization. Classical complement pathway activation did not promote infection through complement receptors and inhibited anti-H IgG-mediated enhancement. In vivo, antibody-enhanced infection allowed MV to overcome a highly protective systemic immune response in preimmunized IfnarKo-Ge46 transgenic mice. These data demonstrate a previously unidentified mechanism that may contribute to morbillivirus pathogenesis where H-specific IgG antibodies promote the spread of MV infection among FcγR-expressing host cells. The findings point to a new model for the pathogenesis of atypical MV infection observed after immunization with formalin-inactivated MV vaccine and underscore the importance of the anti-F response after vaccination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8530-8540
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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