Epitope-resolved profiling of the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response identifies cross-reactivity with an endemic human CoV.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jason T LadnerJohn A Altin


A high-resolution understanding of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 is important for the design of effective diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. However, SARS-CoV-2 antibody epitopes remain largely uncharacterized, and it is unknown whether and how the response may cross-react with related viruses. Here, we use a multiplexed peptide assay ('PepSeq') to generate an epitope-resolved view of reactivity across all human coronaviruses. PepSeq accurately detects SARS-CoV-2 exposure and resolves epitopes across the Spike and Nucleocapsid proteins. Two of these represent recurrent reactivities to conserved, functionally-important sites in the Spike S2 subunit, regions that we show are also targeted for the endemic coronaviruses in pre-pandemic controls. At one of these sites, we demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 response strongly and recurrently cross-reacts with the endemic virus hCoV-OC43. Our analyses reveal new diagnostic and therapeutic targets, including a site at which SARS-CoV-2 may recruit common pre-existing antibodies and with the potential for broadly-neutralizing responses.

Methods Mentioned

phage display
in vitro transcription
peptide assay

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