[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nucleocapsid protein (N protein) has been found to be an antigenic protein in a number of coronaviruses. Whether the N protein in severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is antigenic remains to be elucidated. Using Western blot and Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), the recombinant N proteins and the synthesized peptides derived from the N protein were screened in sera from SARS patients. All patient sera in this study displayed strong positive immunoreactivities against the recombinant N proteins, whereas normal sera gave negative immunoresponses to these proteins, indicating that the N protein of SARS-CoV is an antigenic protein. Furthermore, the epitope sites in the N protein were determined by competition experiments, in which the recombinant proteins or the synthesized peptides competed against the SARS-CoV proteins to bind to the antibodies raised in SARS sera. One epitope site located at the C-terminus was confirmed as the most antigenic region in this protein. A detailed screening of peptide with ELISA demonstrated that the amino sequence from Codons 371 to 407 was the epitope site at the C-terminus of the N protein. Understanding of the epitope sites could be very significant for developing an effective diagnostic approach to SARS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the face of the worldwide threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to human life, some of the most urgent challenges are to develop fast and accurate analytical methods for early diagnosis of this disease as well as to create a safe anti-viral vaccine for prevention. To these ends, we investigated the antigenicity of the spike protein (S protein), a major structural protein in the SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Based upon the theoretical analysis for hydrophobicity of the S protein, 18 peptides were synthesized. Using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), these peptides were screened in the sera from SARS patients. According to these results, two fragments of the S gene were amplified by PCR and cloned into pET-32a. Both S fragments were expressed in the BL-21 strain and further purified with an affinity chromatography. These recombinant S fragments were confirmed to have positive cross-reactions with SARS sera, either by Western blot or by ELISA. Our results demonstrated that the potential epitope regions were located at Codons 469-882 in the S protein, and one epitope site was located at Codons 599-620. Identification of antigenic regions in the SARS-CoV S protein may be important for the functional studies of this virus or the development of clinical diagnosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heme is a key cofactor in aerobic life, both in eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Because of the high reactivity of ferrous protoporphyrin IX, the reactions of heme in cells are often carried out through heme-protein complexes. Traditionally studies of heme-binding proteins have been approached on a case by case basis, thus there is a limited global view of the distribution of heme-binding proteins in different cells or tissues. The procedure described here is aimed at profiling heme-binding proteins in mouse tissues sequentially by 1) purification of heme-binding proteins by heme-agarose, an affinity chromatographic resin; 2) isolation of heme-binding proteins by SDS-PAGE or two-dimensional electrophoresis; 3) identification of heme-binding proteins by mass spectrometry. In five mouse tissues, over 600 protein spots were visualized on 2-DE gel stained by Commassie blue and 154 proteins were identified by MALDI-TOF, in which most proteins belong to heme related. This methodology makes it possible to globally characterize the heme-binding proteins in a biological system.