Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Viruses 2020, 12, 256


© 2020 by the authors. Open access doi:10.3390/v12030256


Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), one of the most prevalent cancers of people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The seroprevalence for KSHV is high in the region, and no prophylactic vaccine against the virus is available. In this study, we characterized the antigenic targets of KSHV-specific neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) in asymptomatic KSHV-infected individuals and KS patients with high nAbs titers. We quantified the extent to which various KSHV envelope glycoproteins (gB, ORF28, ORF68, gH, gL, gM, gN and gpK8.1) adsorbed/removed KSHV-specific nAbs from the plasma of infected individuals. Our study revealed that plasma from a majority of KSHV neutralizers recognizes multiple viral glycoproteins. Moreover, the breadth of nAbs responses against these viral glycoproteins varies among endemic KS, epidemic KS and asymptomatic KSHV-infected individuals. Importantly, among the KSHV glycoproteins, the gH/gL complex, but neither gH nor gL alone, showed the highest adsorption of KSHV-specific nAbs. This activity was detected in 80% of the KSHV-infected individuals regardless of their KS status. The findings suggest that the gH/gL complex is the predominant antigenic determinant of KSHV-specific nAbs. Therefore, gH/gL is a potential target for development of KSHV prophylactic vaccines.