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J Clin Lab Anal ; 36(6): e24479, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1826009


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 has spread worldwide causing more than 400 million people with virus infections since early 2020. Currently, the existing vaccines targeting the spike glycoprotein (S protein) of SARS-CoV-2 are facing great challenge from the infection of SARS-CoV-2 virus and its multiple S protein variants. Thus, we need to develop a new generation of vaccines to prevent infection of the SARS-CoV-2 variants. Compared with the S protein, the nucleocapsid protein (N protein) of SARS-CoV-2 is more conservative and less mutations, which also plays a vital role in viral infection. Therefore, the N protein may have the great potential for developing new vaccines. METHODS: The N protein of SARS-CoV-2 was recombinantly expressed and purified in Escherichia coli. Western Blot and ELISA assays were used to demonstrate the immunoreactivity of the recombinant N protein with the serum of 22 COVID-19 patients. We investigated further the response of the specific serum antibodies and cytokine production in BALB/c mice immunized with recombinant N protein by Western Blot and ELISA. RESULTS: The N protein had good immunoreactivity and the production of IgG antibody against N protein in COVID-19 patients was tightly correlated with disease severity. Furthermore, the N protein was used to immunize BALB/c mice to have elicited strong immune responses. Not only high levels of IgG antibody, but also cytokine-IFN-γ were produced in the N protein-immunized mice. Importantly, the N protein immunization induced a high level of IgM antibody produced in the mice. CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 N protein shows a great big bundle of potentiality for developing a new generation of vaccines in fighting infection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.

COVID-19 , Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cytokines , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nucleocapsid Proteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics