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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(30): e2203659119, 2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947764

ABSTRACT

This study analyzed whole blood samples (n = 56) retrieved from 30 patients at 1 to 21 (median 9) mo after verified COVID-19 to determine the polarity and duration of antigen-specific T cell reactivity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-derived antigens. Multimeric peptides spanning the entire nucleocapsid protein triggered strikingly synchronous formation of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-12, IL-13, and IL-17 ex vivo until ∼70 d after confirmed infection, whereafter this reactivity was no longer inducible. In contrast, levels of nucleocapsid-induced IL-2 and interferon-γ remained stable and highly correlated at 3 to 21 mo after infection. Similar cytokine dynamics were observed in unvaccinated, convalescent patients using whole-blood samples stimulated with peptides spanning the N-terminal portion of the spike 1 protein. These results unravel two phases of T cell reactivity following natural COVID-19: an early, synchronous response indicating transient presence of multipolar, antigen-specific T helper (TH) cells followed by an equally synchronous and durable TH1-like reactivity reflecting long-lasting T cell memory.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cytokines , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Convalescence , Cytokines/blood , Humans , Interferon-gamma/blood , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology
2.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0271463, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933390

ABSTRACT

γδ T cells are thought to contribute to immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but the mechanisms by which they are activated by the virus are unknown. Using flow cytometry, we investigated if the two most abundant viral structural proteins, spike and nucleocapsid, can activate human γδ T cell subsets, directly or in the presence of dendritic cells (DC). Both proteins failed to induce interferon-γ production by Vδ1 or Vδ2 T cells within fresh mononuclear cells or lines of expanded γδ T cells generated from healthy donors, but the same proteins stimulated CD3+ cells from COVID-19 patients. The nucleocapsid protein stimulated interleukin-12 production by DC and downstream interferon-γ production by co-cultured Vδ1 and Vδ2 T cells, but protease digestion and use of an alternative nucleocapsid preparation indicated that this activity was due to contaminating non-protein material. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins do not have stimulatory activity for DC or γδ T cells. We propose that γδ T cell activation in COVID-19 patients is mediated by immune recognition of viral RNA or other structural proteins by γδ T cells, or by other immune cells, such as DC, that produce γδ T cell-stimulatory ligands or cytokines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dendritic Cells , Nucleocapsid Proteins , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Dendritic Cells/immunology , Humans , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
3.
J Virol ; 96(9): e0038922, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784769

ABSTRACT

Increasing cases of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections from immunization with current spike protein-based COVID-19 vaccines highlight the need to develop alternative vaccines using different platforms and/or antigens. In this study, we expressed SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins based on a novel vaccinia virus (VACV) ACAM2000 platform (rACAM2000). In this platform, the vaccinia virus host range and immunoregulatory gene E3L was deleted to make the virus attenuated and to enhance innate immune responses, and another host range gene, K3L, was replaced with a poxvirus ortholog gene, taterapox virus 037 (TATV037), to make virus replication competent in both hamster and human cells. Following a single intramuscular immunization, the rACAM2000 coexpressing the spike and nucleocapsid proteins induced significantly improved protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge in comparison to rACAM2000 expressing the individual proteins in a hamster model, as shown by reduced weight loss and shorter recovery time. The protection was associated with reduced viral loads, increased neutralizing antibody titer, and reduced neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio. Thus, our study demonstrates that rACAM2000 expressing a combination of the spike and nucleocapsid antigens is a promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and further studies will investigate if the rACAM2000 vaccine candidate can induce a long-lasting immunity against infection by SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. IMPORTANCE Continuous emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants which cause breakthrough infection from the immunity induced by current spike protein-based COVID-19 vaccines highlights the need for new generations of vaccines that will induce long-lasting immunity against a wide range of the variants. To this end, we investigated the protective efficacy of the recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidates based on a novel VACV ACAM2000 platform, in which an immunoregulatory gene, E3L, was deleted and both the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) antigens were expressed. Thus, it is expected that the vaccine candidate we constructed should be more immunogenic and safer. In the initial study described in this work, we demonstrated that the vaccine candidate expressing both the S and N proteins is superior to the constructs expressing an individual protein (S or N) in protecting hamsters against SARS-CoV-2 challenge after a single-dose immunization, and further investigation against different SARS-CoV-2 variants will warrant future clinical evaluations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunization , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Smallpox Vaccine , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccinia virus
4.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667340

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is characterized by symptoms such as fever, fatigue, a sore throat, diarrhea, and coughing. Although various new vaccines against COVID-19 have been developed, early diagnostics, isolation, and prevention remain important due to virus mutations resulting in rapid and high disease transmission. Amino acid substitutions in the major diagnostic target antigens of SARS-CoV-2 may lower the sensitivity for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. For this reason, we developed specific monoclonal antibodies that bind to epitope peptides as antigens for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 NP. The binding affinity between antigenic peptides and monoclonal antibodies was investigated, and a sandwich pair for capture and detection was employed to develop a rapid biosensor for SARS-CoV-2 NP. The rapid biosensor, based on a monoclonal antibody pair binding to conserved epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 NP, detected cultured virus samples of SARS-CoV-2 (1.4 × 103 TCID50/reaction) and recombinant NP (1 ng/mL). Laboratory confirmation of the rapid biosensor was performed with clinical specimens (n = 16) from COVID-19 patients and other pathogens. The rapid biosensor consisting of a monoclonal antibody pair (75E12 for capture and the 54G6/54G10 combination for detection) binding to conserved epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 NP could assist in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 NP under the circumstance of spreading SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Epitopes/metabolism , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Epitopes/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunoassay , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Peptides/immunology , Peptides/metabolism , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/immunology
5.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 50-61, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545628

ABSTRACT

NP105-113-B*07:02-specific CD8+ T cell responses are considered among the most dominant in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals. We found strong association of this response with mild disease. Analysis of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell clones and single-cell sequencing were performed concurrently, with functional avidity and antiviral efficacy assessed using an in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infection system, and were correlated with T cell receptor usage, transcriptome signature and disease severity (acute n = 77, convalescent n = 52). We demonstrated a beneficial association of NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells in COVID-19 disease progression, linked with expansion of T cell precursors, high functional avidity and antiviral effector function. Broad immune memory pools were narrowed postinfection but NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cells were maintained 6 months after infection with preserved antiviral efficacy to the SARS-CoV-2 Victoria strain, as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Our data show that NP105-113-B*07:02-specific T cell responses associate with mild disease and high antiviral efficacy, pointing to inclusion for future vaccine design.


Subject(s)
HLA-B7 Antigen/immunology , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Aged , Amino Acid Sequence , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Affinity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line, Transformed , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Vaccinia virus/genetics , Vaccinia virus/immunology , Vaccinia virus/metabolism
6.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538549

ABSTRACT

A growing number of studies indicate that mRNAs and long ncRNAs can affect protein populations by assembling dynamic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) granules. These phase-separated molecular 'sponges', stabilized by quinary (transient and weak) interactions, control proteins involved in numerous biological functions. Retroviruses such as HIV-1 form by self-assembly when their genomic RNA (gRNA) traps Gag and GagPol polyprotein precursors. Infectivity requires extracellular budding of the particle followed by maturation, an ordered processing of ∼2400 Gag and ∼120 GagPol by the viral protease (PR). This leads to a condensed gRNA-NCp7 nucleocapsid and a CAp24-self-assembled capsid surrounding the RNP. The choreography by which all of these components dynamically interact during virus maturation is one of the missing milestones to fully depict the HIV life cycle. Here, we describe how HIV-1 has evolved a dynamic RNP granule with successive weak-strong-moderate quinary NC-gRNA networks during the sequential processing of the GagNC domain. We also reveal two palindromic RNA-binding triads on NC, KxxFxxQ and QxxFxxK, that provide quinary NC-gRNA interactions. Consequently, the nucleocapsid complex appears properly aggregated for capsid reassembly and reverse transcription, mandatory processes for viral infectivity. We show that PR is sequestered within this RNP and drives its maturation/condensation within minutes, this process being most effective at the end of budding. We anticipate such findings will stimulate further investigations of quinary interactions and emergent mechanisms in crowded environments throughout the wide and growing array of RNP granules.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections/virology , HIV-1 , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Viral Proteases/immunology , HIV-1/immunology , HIV-1/physiology , Humans , Virus Assembly
7.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0067221, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532977

ABSTRACT

Here, we aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of a serological assay using the nucleocapsid protein developed for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection and evaluated its performance using three commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), namely, Standard E 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) total antibody (Ab) ELISA (SD Biosensor), and EDI novel coronavirus COVID-19 IgG and IgM ELISA. A recombinant nucleocapsid protein (rNP) was expressed from plants and Escherichia coli for the detection of serum total Ab. We prospectively collected 141 serum samples from 32 patients with reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR)-confirmed COVID-19 and determined the sensitivity and dynamics of their total Ab response. Specificity was evaluated using 158 prepandemic samples. To validate the assays, we evaluated the performance using two different cutoff values. The sensitivity and specificity for each assay were as follows: 92.91% and 94.30% (plant-rNP), 83.69% and 98.73% (SD Biosensor), 75.89% and 98.10% (E. coli-rNP), 76.47% and 100% (EDI-IgG), and 80.39% and 80% (EDI-IgM). The plant-based rNP showed the highest sensitivity and area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (0.980) among all the assays (P < 0.05). The seroconversion rate for total Ab increased sequentially with disease progression, with a sensitivity of 100% after 10 to 12 days of post-symptom onset (PSO) for both rNP-plant-based and SD Biosensor ELISAs. After 2 weeks of PSO, the seroconversion rates were >80% and 100% for EDI-IgM and EDI-IgG ELISA, respectively. Seroconversion occurred earlier with rNP plant-based ELISA (5 days PSO) compared with E. coli-based (7 days PSO) and SD Biosensor (8 days PSO) ELISA. We determined that rNP produced in plants enables the robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 total Abs. The assay can be used for serosurvey and complementary diagnosis of COVID-19. IMPORTANCE At present, the principal diagnostic methods for COVID-19 comprise the identification of viral nucleic acid by genetic approaches, including PCR-based techniques or next-generation sequencing. However, there is an urgent need for validated serological assays which are crucial for the understanding of immune responses against SARS-CoV-2. In this study, a highly sensitive and specific serological antibody assay was developed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 with an overall accuracy of 93.56% using a recombinant nucleoprotein expressed from plants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Plant Proteins/immunology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Nucleocapsid , Plant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion , Tobacco/genetics
8.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 2141-2150, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1532382

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We studied humoral and cellular responses against SARS-CoV-2 longitudinally in a homogeneous population of healthy young/middle-aged men of South Asian ethnicity with mild COVID-19. METHODS: In total, we recruited 994 men (median age: 34 years) post-COVID-19 diagnosis. Repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted between May 2020 and January 2021 at six time points - day 28 (n = 327), day 80 (n = 202), day 105 (n = 294), day 140 (n = 172), day 180 (n = 758), and day 280 (n = 311). Three commercial assays were used to detect anti-nucleoprotein (NP) and neutralizing antibodies. T cell response specific for Spike, Membrane and NP SARS-CoV-2 proteins was tested in 85 patients at day 105, 180, and 280. RESULTS: All serological tests displayed different kinetics of progressive antibody reduction while the frequency of T cells specific for different structural SARS-CoV-2 proteins was stable over time. Both showed a marked heterogeneity of magnitude among the studied cohort. Comparatively, cellular responses lasted longer than humoral responses and were still detectable nine months after infection in the individuals who lost antibody detection. Correlation between T cell frequencies and all antibodies was lost over time. CONCLUSION: Humoral and cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is induced with differing kinetics of persistence in those with mild disease. The magnitude of T cells and antibodies is highly heterogeneous in a homogeneous study population. These observations have implications for COVID-19 surveillance, vaccination strategies, and post-pandemic planning.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Male , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology
9.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(3): e0113121, 2021 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522926

ABSTRACT

Validation and standardization of accurate serological assays are crucial for the surveillance of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and population immunity. We describe the analytical and clinical performance of an in-house fluorescent multiplex immunoassay (FMIA) for simultaneous quantification of antibodies against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleoprotein and spike glycoprotein. Furthermore, we calibrated IgG-FMIA against World Health Organization (WHO) International Standard and compared FMIA results to an in-house enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a microneutralization test (MNT). We also compared the MNT results of two laboratories. IgG-FMIA displayed 100% specificity and sensitivity for samples collected 13 to 150 days post-onset of symptoms (DPO). For IgA- and IgM-FMIA, 100% specificity and sensitivity were obtained for a shorter time window (13 to 36 and 13 to 28 DPO for IgA- and IgM-FMIA, respectively). FMIA and EIA results displayed moderate to strong correlation, but FMIA was overall more specific and sensitive. IgG-FMIA identified 100% of samples with neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Anti-spike IgG concentrations correlated strongly (ρ = 0.77 to 0.84, P < 2.2 × 10-16) with NAb titers, and the two laboratories' NAb titers displayed a very strong correlation (ρ = 0.95, P < 2.2 × 10-16). Our results indicate good correlation and concordance of antibody concentrations measured with different types of in-house SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays. Calibration against the WHO international standard did not, however, improve the comparability of FMIA and EIA results. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 serological assays with excellent clinical performance are essential for reliable estimation of the persistence of immunity after infection or vaccination. In this paper we present a thoroughly validated SARS-CoV-2 serological assay with excellent clinical performance and good comparability to neutralizing antibody titers. Neutralization tests are still considered the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 serological assays, but our assay can identify samples with neutralizing antibodies with 100% sensitivity and 96% specificity without the need for laborious and slow biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) facility-requiring analyses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Fluorescent Antibody Technique/methods , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Nucleoproteins , Phosphoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(22)2021 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524025

ABSTRACT

Mitigation strategies of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have been greatly hindered by the continuous emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants. New sensitive, rapid diagnostic tests for the wide-spectrum detection of viral variants are needed. We generated a panel of 41 monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (NP) by using mice hybridoma techniques. Of these mAbs, nine exhibited high binding activities and were applied in latex-based lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs). The LFIAs utilizing NP-mAb-7 and -40 had the best sensitivity and lowest limit of detection: 8 pg for purified NP and 625 TCID50/mL for the authentic virus (hCoV-19/Taiwan/4/2020). The specificity tests showed that the NP-mAb-40/7 LFIA strips did not cross-react with five human coronavirus strains or 20 other common respiratory pathogens. Importantly, we found that 10 NP mutants, including alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351), gamma (P.1), and delta (B.1.617.2) variants, could be detected by NP-mAb-40/7 LFIA strips. A clinical study (n = 60) of the NP-mAb-40/7 LFIA strips demonstrated a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 90% in infected individuals with cycle threshold (Ct) values < 29.5. These anti-NP mAbs have strong potential for use in the clinical detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, whether the virus is wild-type or a variant of concern.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoassay/methods , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus/metabolism , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
12.
EBioMedicine ; 73: 103643, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482542

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Wildtype mice are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3, contain mutations in spike that has been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that these SARS-CoV-2 variants may have evolved to expand species tropism to wildtype mouse and potentially other murines. Our study evaluated this possibility with substantial public health importance. METHODS: We investigated the capacity of wildtype (WT) SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Susceptibility to infection was evaluated with RT-qPCR, plaque assays, immunohistological stainings, and neutralization assays. FINDINGS: Our results reveal that B.1.1.7 and other N501Y-carrying variants but not WT SARS-CoV-2 can infect wildtype mice. High viral genome copies and high infectious virus particle titres are recovered from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice for 4-to-7 days post infection. In agreement with these observations, robust expression of viral nucleocapsid protein and histopathological changes are detected from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice but not that of the WT SARS-CoV-2-inoculated mice. Similarly, B.1.1.7 readily infects wildtype rats with production of infectious virus particles. INTERPRETATION: Our study provides direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, as well as other N501Y-carrying variants including B.1.351 and P.3, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to murines and public health measures including stringent murine control should be implemented to facilitate the control of the ongoing pandemic. FUNDING: A full list of funding bodies that contributed to this study can be found in the Acknowledgements section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Tropism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Turbinates/pathology , Turbinates/virology , Virus Internalization
13.
J Biol Chem ; 298(1): 101290, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472024

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
14.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444329

ABSTRACT

Since SARS-CoV-2 appeared in late 2019, many studies on the immune response to COVID-19 have been conducted, but the asymptomatic or light symptom cases were somewhat understudied as respective individuals often did not seek medical help. Here, we analyze the production of the IgG antibodies to viral nucleocapsid (N) protein and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein and assess the serum neutralization capabilities in a cohort of patients with different levels of disease severity. In half of light or asymptomatic cases the antibodies to the nucleocapsid protein, which serve as the main target in many modern test systems, were not detected. They were detected in all cases of moderate or severe symptoms, and severe lung lesions correlated with respective higher signals. Antibodies to RBD were present in the absolute majority of samples, with levels being sometimes higher in light symptom cases. We thus suggest that the anti-RBD/anti-N antibody ratio may serve as an indicator of the disease severity. Anti-RBD IgG remained detectable after a year or more since the infection, even with a slight tendency to raise over time, and the respective signal correlated with the serum capacity to inhibit the RBD interaction with the ACE-2 receptor.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleocapsid , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Russia , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
15.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(2): 663-666, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389113

ABSTRACT

Antibody response against nucleocapsid and spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2 in 11 persons with mild or asymptomatic infection rapidly increased after infection. At weeks 18-30 after diagnosis, all remained seropositive but spike protein-targeting antibody titers declined. These data may be useful for vaccine development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Child , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleocapsid Proteins/blood , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Time Factors , Vietnam , Young Adult
16.
Biol Pharm Bull ; 44(9): 1332-1336, 2021 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388871

ABSTRACT

Antigen tests for infectious diseases are inexpensive and easy-to-use, but the limit of detection (LOD) is generally higher than that of PCR tests, which are considered the gold standard. In the present study, we combined a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with thionicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (thio-NAD) cycling to improve the LOD of antigen tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For recombinant nucleocapsid proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the LOD of our ELISA with thio-NAD cycling was 2.95 × 10-17 moles/assay. When UV-irradiated inactive SARS-CoV-2 was used, the minimum detectable virions corresponding to 2.6 × 104 RNA copies/assay were obtained using our ELISA with thio-NAD cycling. The assay volume for each test was 100 µL. The minimum detectable value was smaller than that of the latest antigen test using a fluorescent immunoassay for SARS-CoV-2, indicating the validity of our detection system for COVID-19 diagnosis.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , NAD/analogs & derivatives , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Antigens, Viral , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Immunologic Tests , Limit of Detection , Nucleocapsid/analysis , Sensitivity and Specificity
17.
Nature ; 584(7821): 457-462, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373437

ABSTRACT

Memory T cells induced by previous pathogens can shape susceptibility to, and the clinical severity of, subsequent infections1. Little is known about the presence in humans of pre-existing memory T cells that have the potential to recognize severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we studied T cell responses against the structural (nucleocapsid (N) protein) and non-structural (NSP7 and NSP13 of ORF1) regions of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals convalescing from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (n = 36). In all of these individuals, we found CD4 and CD8 T cells that recognized multiple regions of the N protein. Next, we showed that patients (n = 23) who recovered from SARS (the disease associated with SARS-CoV infection) possess long-lasting memory T cells that are reactive to the N protein of SARS-CoV 17 years after the outbreak of SARS in 2003; these T cells displayed robust cross-reactivity to the N protein of SARS-CoV-2. We also detected SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in individuals with no history of SARS, COVID-19 or contact with individuals who had SARS and/or COVID-19 (n = 37). SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in uninfected donors exhibited a different pattern of immunodominance, and frequently targeted NSP7 and NSP13 as well as the N protein. Epitope characterization of NSP7-specific T cells showed the recognition of protein fragments that are conserved among animal betacoronaviruses but have low homology to 'common cold' human-associated coronaviruses. Thus, infection with betacoronaviruses induces multi-specific and long-lasting T cell immunity against the structural N protein. Understanding how pre-existing N- and ORF1-specific T cells that are present in the general population affect the susceptibility to and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is important for the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Cross Reactions/immunology , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
18.
J Infect Dis ; 224(4): 586-594, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367023

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The duration of humoral and T and B cell response after the infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains unclear. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study to assess the virus-specific antibody and memory T and B cell responses in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients up to 343 days after infection. Neutralizing antibodies and antibodies against the receptor-binding domain, spike, and nucleoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 were measured. Virus-specific memory T and B cell responses were analyzed. RESULTS: We enrolled 59 patients with COVID-19, including 38 moderate, 16 mild, and 5 asymptomatic patients; 31 (52.5%) were men and 28 (47.5%) were women. The median age was 41 years (interquartile range, 30-55). The median day from symptom onset to enrollment was 317 days (range 257 to 343 days). We found that approximately 90% of patients still have detectable immunoglobulin (Ig)G antibodies against spike and nucleocapsid proteins and neutralizing antibodies against pseudovirus, whereas ~60% of patients had detectable IgG antibodies against receptor-binding domain and surrogate virus-neutralizing antibodies. The SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG+ memory B cell and interferon-γ-secreting T cell responses were detectable in more than 70% of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-specific immune memory response persists in most patients approximately 1 year after infection, which provides a promising sign for prevention from reinfection and vaccination strategy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Adult , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology
19.
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0255208, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1332001

ABSTRACT

Serologic assays developed for SARS-CoV-2 detect different antibody subtypes and are based on different target antigens. Comparison of the performance of a SARS-CoV-2 Spike-Protein ELISA and the nucleocapsid-based Abbott ArchitectTM SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay indicated that the assays had high concordance, with rare paired discordant tests results.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult
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