Mapping the Immunodominance Landscape of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein for the Design of Vaccines against COVID-19

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B.-z. ZhangJian-Dong Huang

Abstract

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a serious threat to global public health, and imposes severe burdens on the entire human society. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) can cause severe respiratory illness and death. Currently, there are no specific antiviral drugs that can treat COVID-19. Several vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are being actively developed by research groups around the world. The surface S (spike) protein and the highly expressed internal N (nucleocapsid) protein of SARS-CoV-2 are widely considered as promising candidates for vaccines. In order to guide the design of an effective vaccine, we need experimental data on these potential epitope candidates. In this study, we mapped the immunodominant (ID) sites of S protein using sera samples collected from recently discharged COVID-19 patients. The SARS-CoV-2 S protein-specific antibody levels in the sera of recovered COVID-19 patients were strongly correlated with the neutralising antibody titres. We used epitope mapping to determine the landscape of ID sites of S protein, which identified nine linearized B cell ID sites. Four out of the nine ID sites were found in the receptor-binding domain (RBD). Further...Continue Reading

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