Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) remains a global public health concern due to its epidemiological distribution and the existence of multiple strains. Neutralizing antibodies against this infection have shown efficacy in in vivo studies. Thus, elucidation of the epitopes of neutralizing antibodies can aid in the design and development of effective vaccines against different strains of JEV. Here, we describe a combination of native mass spectrometry (native-MS) and hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) to complete screening of eight mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against JEV E-DIII to identify epitope regions. Native-MS was used as a first pass to identify the antibodies that formed a complex with the target antigen, and it revealed that seven of the eight monoclonal antibodies underwent binding. Native mass spectra of a MAb (JEV-27) known to be non-binding showed broad native-MS peaks and poor signal, suggesting the protein is a mixture or that there are impurities in the sample. We followed native-MS with HDX-MS to locate the binding sites for several of the complex-forming antibodies. This combination of two mass spectrometry-based approaches should be generally applicable and particularly suitable for screening of antigen–antibody and other protein–protein interactions when other traditional approaches give unclear results or are difficult, unavailable, or need to be validated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number374
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • antibody/antigen interactions
  • epitope mapping
  • hydrogen/deuterium exchange
  • monoclonal antibodies
  • native MS


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