Plant-Produced Anti-Zika Virus Monoclonal Antibody Glycovariant Exhibits Abrogated Antibody-Dependent Enhancement of Infection

Ming Yang, Haiyan Sun, Huafang Lai, Biswas Neupane, Fengwei Bai, Herta Steinkellner, Qiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against the envelope (E) protein of Zika virus (ZIKV) have shown great potential as therapeutics against the Zika epidemics. However, their use as a therapy may predispose treated individuals to severe infection by the related dengue virus (DENV) via antibody-dependent enhancement of infection (ADE). Here, we generated a broadly neutralizing flavivirus mAb, ZV1, with an identical protein backbone but different Fc glycosylation profiles. The three glycovariants, produced in wild-type (WT) and glycoengineered ΔXF Nicotiana benthamiana plants and in Chinese hamster ovary cells (ZV1WT, ZV1ΔXF, and ZV1CHO), respectively, showed equivalent neutralization potency against both ZIKV and DENV. By contrast, the three mAb glycoforms demonstrated drastically different ADE activity for DENV and ZIKV infection. While ZV1CHO and ZV1ΔXF showed ADE activity upon DENV and ZIKV infection, ZV1WT totally forwent its ADE. Importantly, all three glycovariants exhibited antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against virus-infected cells, with increased potency by the fucose-free ZV1ΔXF glycoform. Moreover, the in vivo efficacy of the ADE-free ZV1WT was demonstrated in a murine model. Collectively, we demonstrated the feasibility of modulating ADE by Fc glycosylation, thereby establishing a novel approach for improving the safety of flavivirus therapeutics. Our study also underscores the versatile use of plants for the rapid expression of complex human proteins to reveal novel insight into antibody function and viral pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number755
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Fc effector function
  • Zika virus
  • antibody dependent enhancement of infection (ADE)
  • antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)
  • glycosylation
  • monoclonal antibody (mAb)
  • neutralization
  • plant-made antibody
  • plant-made pharmaceutical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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