Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/14471
Cross-Recognition of SARS-CoV-2 B-Cell Epitopes with Other Betacoronavirus Nucleoproteins
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 10;23(6):2977.
The B and T lymphocytes of the adaptive immune system are important for the control of most viral infections, including COVID-19. Identification of epitopes recognized by these cells is fundamental for understanding how the immune system detects and removes pathogens, and for antiviral vaccine design. Intriguingly, several cross-reactive T lymphocyte epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 with other betacoronaviruses responsible for the common cold have been identified. In addition, antibodies that cross-recognize the spike protein, but not the nucleoprotein (N protein), from different betacoronavirus have also been reported. Using a consensus of eight bioinformatic methods for predicting B-cell epitopes and the collection of experimentally detected epitopes for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, we identified four surface-exposed, conserved, and hypothetical antigenic regions that are exclusive of the N protein. These regions were analyzed using ELISA assays with two cohorts: SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and pre-COVID-19 samples. Here we describe four epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 N protein that are recognized by the humoral response from multiple individuals infected with COVID-19, and are conserved in other human coronaviruses. Three of these linear surface-exposed sequences and their peptide homologs in SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43 were also recognized by antibodies from pre-COVID-19 serum samples, indicating cross-reactivity of antibodies against coronavirus N proteins. Different conserved human coronaviruses (HCoVs) cross-reactive B epitopes against SARS-CoV-2 N protein are detected in a significant fraction of individuals not exposed to this pandemic virus. These results have potential clinical implications.
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