Cytomegalovirus infections are an important cause of disease for which no licensed vaccine exists. Recent studies have focused on the gH/gL/UL128-131 complex as antibodies to gH/gL/UL128-131 neutralize viral entry into epithelial cells. Prior studies have used cells from the retinal pigment epithelium, while to prevent transmission, vaccine-induced antibodies may need to block viral infection of epithelial cells of the oral or genital mucosa. We found that gH/gL/UL128-131 is necessary for efficient viral entry into epithelial cells derived from oral and genital mucosa, that short peptides from UL130 and UL131 elicit high titer neutralizing antibodies in rabbits, and that such antibodies neutralize viral entry into epithelial cells derived from these relevant tissues. These results suggest that single subunits or peptides may be sufficient to elicit potent epithelial entry neutralizing responses and that secretory antibodies to such neutralizing epitopes have the potential to provide sterilizing immunity by blocking initial mucosal infection.
- Mucosal infection
- Neutralizing antibody