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J Biol Chem ; 298(1): 101290, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472024


The current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of obtaining reliable methods for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2. A highly specific and sensitive diagnostic test able to differentiate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from common human coronaviruses is therefore needed. Coronavirus nucleoprotein (N) localizes to the cytoplasm and the nucleolus and is required for viral RNA synthesis. N is the most abundant coronavirus protein, so it is of utmost importance to develop specific antibodies for its detection. In this study, we developed a sandwich immunoassay to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 N protein. We immunized one alpaca with recombinant SARS-CoV-2 N and constructed a large single variable domain on heavy chain (VHH) antibody library. After phage display selection, seven VHHs recognizing the full N protein were identified by ELISA. These VHHs did not recognize the nucleoproteins of the four common human coronaviruses. Hydrogen Deuterium eXchange-Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) analysis also showed that these VHHs mainly targeted conformational epitopes in either the C-terminal or the N-terminal domains. All VHHs were able to recognize SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells or on infected hamster tissues. Moreover, the VHHs could detect the SARS variants B.1.17/alpha, B.1.351/beta, and P1/gamma. We propose that this sandwich immunoassay could be applied to specifically detect the SARS-CoV-2 N in human nasal swabs.

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Single-Domain Antibodies/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(13): 7695-7712, 2021 07 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298980


The multidomain non-structural protein 3 (Nsp3) is the largest protein encoded by coronavirus (CoV) genomes and several regions of this protein are essential for viral replication. Of note, SARS-CoV Nsp3 contains a SARS-Unique Domain (SUD), which can bind Guanine-rich non-canonical nucleic acid structures called G-quadruplexes (G4) and is essential for SARS-CoV replication. We show herein that the SARS-CoV-2 Nsp3 protein also contains a SUD domain that interacts with G4s. Indeed, interactions between SUD proteins and both DNA and RNA G4s were evidenced by G4 pull-down, Surface Plasmon Resonance and Homogenous Time Resolved Fluorescence. These interactions can be disrupted by mutations that prevent oligonucleotides from folding into G4 structures and, interestingly, by molecules known as specific ligands of these G4s. Structural models for these interactions are proposed and reveal significant differences with the crystallographic and modeled 3D structures of the SARS-CoV SUD-NM/G4 interaction. Altogether, our results pave the way for further studies on the role of SUD/G4 interactions during SARS-CoV-2 replication and the use of inhibitors of these interactions as potential antiviral compounds.

COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , G-Quadruplexes , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acid Sequence , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Humans , Ligands , Models, Molecular , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Recombinant Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Spectrum Analysis , Structure-Activity Relationship , Virus Replication
Sci Transl Med ; 12(559)2020 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-724557


It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their differing antibody response profiles. Here, we performed a pilot study of four serological assays to assess the amounts of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum samples obtained from 491 healthy individuals before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, 51 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 209 suspected cases of COVID-19 with mild symptoms, and 200 healthy blood donors. We used two ELISA assays that recognized the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric spike (S) protein ectodomain of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we developed the S-Flow assay that recognized the S protein expressed at the cell surface using flow cytometry, and the luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) assay that recognized diverse SARS-CoV-2 antigens including the S1 domain and the carboxyl-terminal domain of N by immunoprecipitation. We obtained similar results with the four serological assays. Differences in sensitivity were attributed to the technique and the antigen used. High anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were associated with neutralization activity, which was assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotype virus. In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, seroconversion and virus neutralization occurred between 5 and 14 days after symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 32% of mildly symptomatic individuals within 15 days of symptom onset and in 3% of healthy blood donors. The four antibody assays that we used enabled a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different subpopulations within one region.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Serologic Tests/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Flow Cytometry/methods , France/epidemiology , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immunoprecipitation/methods , Luciferases , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult