A chimeric fusion protein encompassing the CD46 ectodomain linked to the C-terminal part of the C4b binding protein (C4bp) α chain (sCD46-C4bpα) was produced in eukaryotic cells. This protein, secreted as a disulfide-linked homo-octamer, was recognized by a panel of anti-CD46 antibodies with varying avidities. Unlike monomeric sCB46, the octameric sCD46-C4bpα protein was devoid of complement regulatory activity. However, sCB46-C4bpα was able to bind to the measles virus hemagglutinin protein expressed on murine cells with a higher avidity than soluble monomeric sCD46. Moreover, the octameric sCD46-C4bpα protein was significantly more efficient than monomeric sCD45 in inhibiting virus binding to CD46, in blocking virus induced cell-cell fusion, and in neutralizing measles virus in vitro. In addition, the octameric sCD46- C4bpα protein, but not the monameric sCD46, fully protected CD46 transgenic mice against a lethal intracranial measles virus challenge.
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