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Epitope mapping and biological function analysis of antibodies produced by immunization of mice with an inactivated Chinese isolate of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV)

Laboratory of Nucleic Acid Vaccines, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, Lazare Research Building, Worcester, MA 01605-2397, USA.
Virology (Impact Factor: 3.28). 04/2005; 334(1):134-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2005.01.035
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Inactivated severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has been tested as a candidate vaccine against the re-emergence of SARS. In order to understand the efficacy and safety of this approach, it is important to know the antibody specificities generated with inactivated SARS-CoV. In the current study, a panel of twelve monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) was established by immunizing Balb/c mice with the inactivated BJ01 strain of SARS-CoV isolated from the lung tissue of a SARS-infected Chinese patient. These mAbs could recognize SARS-CoV-infected cells by immunofluorescence analysis (IFA). Seven of them were mapped to the specific segments of recombinant spike (S) protein: six on S1 subunit (aa 12-798) and one on S2 subunit (aa 797-1192). High neutralizing titers against SARS-CoV were detected with two mAbs (1A5 and 2C5) targeting at a subdomain of S protein (aa 310-535), consistent with the previous report that this segment of S protein contains the major neutralizing domain. Some of these S-specific mAbs were able to recognize cleaved products of S protein in SARS-CoV-infected Vero E6 cells. None of the remaining five mAbs could recognize either of the recombinant S, N, M, or E antigens by ELISA. This study demonstrated that the inactivated SARS-CoV was able to preserve the immunogenicity of S protein including its major neutralizing domain. The relative ease with which these mAbs were generated against SARS-CoV virions further supports that subunit vaccination with S constructs may also be able to protect animals and perhaps humans. It is somewhat unexpected that no N-specific mAbs were identified albeit anti-N IgG was easily identified in SARS-CoV-infected patients. The availability of this panel of mAbs also provided potentially useful agents with applications in therapy, diagnosis, and basic research of SARS-CoV.

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