[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To monitor severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infection, a coronavirus protein microarray that harbors proteins from SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and five additional coronaviruses was constructed. These microarrays were used to screen approximately 400 Canadian sera from the SARS outbreak, including samples from confirmed SARS-CoV cases, respiratory illness patients, and healthcare professionals. A computer algorithm that uses multiple classifiers to predict samples from SARS patients was developed and used to predict 206 sera from Chinese fever patients. The test assigned patients into two distinct groups: those with antibodies to SARS-CoV and those without. The microarray also identified patients with sera reactive against other coronavirus proteins. Our results correlated well with an indirect immunofluorescence test and demonstrated that viral infection can be monitored for many months after infection. We show that protein microarrays can serve as a rapid, sensitive, and simple tool for large-scale identification of viral-specific antibodies in sera.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2006; 103(11):4011-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Different assays were used to analyze 1,621 serum specimens collected from military recruits from the People's Republic of China in 2002 for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus antibodies. The results demonstrated that the subjects either had rarely been exposed to the virus before the 2003 SARS outbreak or had not been exposed but the nucleocapsid protein cross-reacted with other antibodies in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antibody detection with a recombinant COOH portion of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein, N13 (amino acids 221 to 422), was demonstrated to be more specific and sensitive than that with the full-length N protein, and an N13-based antigen-capturing enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay providing a convenient and specific test for serodiagnosis and epidemiological study of SARS was developed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was isolated from a pig during a survey for possible routes of viral transmission after a SARS epidemic. Sequence and epidemiology analyses suggested that the pig was infected by a SARS-CoV of human origin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the time-course of viraemia and antibody responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), RT-PCR and ELISA were used to assay 376 blood samples from 135 SARS patients at various stages of the illness, including samples from patients who were in their early convalescent phase. The results showed that IgM antibodies decreased and became undetectable 11 weeks into the recovery phase. IgG antibodies, however, remained detectable for a period beyond 11 weeks and were found in 100 % of patients in the early convalescent phase. SARS-CoV viraemia mainly appeared 1 week after the onset of illness and then decreased over a period of 1 month, becoming undetectable in the blood samples of the convalescent patients. At the peak of viraemia, viral RNA was detectable in 75 % of blood samples from patients who were clinically diagnosed with SARS 1 or 2 weeks before the test.
Journal of Medical Microbiology 06/2004; 53(Pt 5):435-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has been confirmed as the pathogen for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The aim of our study was to construct a sensitive and specific real-time quantitative fluorescent (QF) reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR method for the detection of SARS-CoV RNA.
Stored blood specimens from 44 patients with confirmed SARS were used along with blood samples from two sets of controls, 30 healthy volunteers who had no contact with SARS patients, and 30 healthy doctors and nurses who had contact with SARS patients but were without symptoms of SARS. Two pairs of primers were synthesized by the Shanghai Sangon Company according to SARS-CoV BJ01 strain sequence (AY278488), and then a pair of primers were designed and compared with a pair of primers published by WHO.
Using serial dilutions of SARS-CoV, the 44 blood samples from SARS patients specimens were tested. Using a 0.01% dilution of SARS-CoV, all 44 clinical samples tested positive in our assay. In comparison, using a 0.1% dilution of SARS-CoV, 26 of the 44 samples tested positive using the WHO primers. In the QF-RT-PCR assay, there was a linear amplification from 100 copies to 10(8) copies of the control RNA per RT-PCR and at least 10 copies, and sometimes even 1 copy, of target RNA tested positive in our assay.
The primer we developed is sufficiently sensitive and specific to diagnose symptomatic SARS-CoV infections and for monitoring virus load.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The widespread threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to human life has spawned challenges to develop fast and accurate analytical methods for its early diagnosis and to create a safe antiviral vaccine for preventive use. Consequently, we thoroughly investigated the immunoreactivities with patient sera of a series of synthesized peptides from SARS-coronavirus structural proteins.
We synthesized 41 peptides ranging in size from 16 to 25 amino acid residues of relatively high hydrophilicity. The immunoreactivities of the peptides with SARS patient sera were determined by ELISA.
Four epitopic sites, S599, M137, N66, and N371-404, located in the SARS-coronavirus S, M, and N proteins, respectively, were detected by screening synthesized peptides. Notably, N371 and N385, located at the COOH terminus of the N protein, inhibited binding of antibodies to SARS-coronavirus lysate and bound to antibodies in >94% of samples from SARS study patients. N385 had the highest affinity for forming peptide-antibody complexes with SARS serum.
Five peptides from SARS structural proteins, especially two from the COOH terminus of the N protein, appear to be highly immunogenic and may be useful for serologic assays. The identification of these antigenic peptides contributes to the understanding of the immunogenicity and persistence of SARS coronavirus.
[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: Annotation of the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus) is indispensable to understand its evolution and pathogenesis. We have performed a full annotation of the SARS-CoV genome sequences by using annotation programs publicly available or developed by ourselves. Totally, 21 open reading frames (ORFs) of genes or putative uncharacterized proteins (PUPs) were predicted. Seven PUPs had not been reported previously, and two of them were predicted to contain transmembrane regions. Eight ORFs partially overlapped with or embedded into those of known genes, revealing that the SARS-CoV genome is a small and compact one with overlapped coding regions. The most striking discovery is that an ORF locates on the minus strand. We have also annotated non-coding regions and identified the transcription regulating sequences (TRS) in the intergenic regions. The analysis of TRS supports the minus strand extending transcription mechanism of coronavirus. The SNP analysis of different isolates reveals that mutations of the sequences do not affect the prediction results of ORFs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to develop clinical diagnostic tools for rapid detection of the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus) and to identify candidate proteins for vaccine development, the C-terminal portion of the nucleocapsid (NC) gene was amplified using RT-PCR from the SARS-CoV genome, cloned into a yeast expression vector (pEGH), and expressed as a glutathione S-transferase (GST) and Hisx6 double-tagged fusion protein under the control of an inducible promoter. Western analysis on the purified protein confirmed the expression and purification of the NC fusion proteins from yeast. To determine its antigenicity, the fusion protein was challenged with serum samples from SARS patients and normal controls. The NC fusion protein demonstrated high antigenicity with high specificity, and therefore, it should have great potential in designing clinical diagnostic tools and provide useful information for vaccine development.
[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: We studied structural and immunological properties of the SARS-CoV M (membrane) protein, based on comparative analyses of sequence features, phylogenetic investigation, and experimental results. The M protein is predicted to contain a triple-spanning transmembrane (TM) region, a single N-glycosylation site near its N-terminus that is in the exterior of the virion, and a long C-terminal region in the interior. The M protein harbors a higher substitution rate (0.6% correlated to its size) among viral open reading frames (ORFs) from published data. The four substitutions detected in the M protein, which cause non-synonymous changes, can be classified into three types. One of them results in changes of pI (isoelectric point) and charge, affecting antigenicity. The second changes hydrophobicity of the TM region, and the third one relates to hydrophilicity of the interior structure. Phylogenetic tree building based on the variations of the M protein appears to support the non-human origin of SARS-CoV. To investigate its immunogenicity, we synthesized eight oligopeptides covering 69.2% of the entire ORF and screened them by using ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) with sera from SARS patients. The results confirmed our predictions on antigenic sites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Coronaviridae family is characterized by a nucleocapsid that is composed of the genome RNA molecule in combination with the nucleoprotein (N protein) within a virion. The most striking physiochemical feature of the N protein of SARS-CoV is that it is a typical basic protein with a high predicted pI and high hydrophilicity, which is consistent with its function of binding to the ribophosphate backbone of the RNA molecule. The predicted high extent of phosphorylation of the N protein on multiple candidate phosphorylation sites demonstrates that it would be related to important functions, such as RNA-binding and localization to the nucleolus of host cells. Subsequent study shows that there is an SR-rich region in the N protein and this region might be involved in the protein-protein interaction. The abundant antigenic sites predicted in the N protein, as well as experimental evidence with synthesized polypeptides, indicate that the N protein is one of the major antigens of the SARS-CoV. Compared with other viral structural proteins, the low variation rate of the N protein with regards to its size suggests its importance to the survival of the virus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a complete genomic sequence of rare isolates (minor genotype) of the SARS-CoV from SARS patients in Guangdong, China, where the first few cases emerged. The most striking discovery from the isolate is an extra 29-nucleotide sequence located at the nucleotide positions between 27,863 and 27,864 (referred to the complete sequence of BJ01) within an overlapped region composed of BGI-PUP5 (BGI-postulated uncharacterized protein 5) and BGI-PUP6 upstream of the N (nucleocapsid) protein. The discovery of this minor genotype, GD-Ins29, suggests a significant genetic event and differentiates it from the previously reported genotype, the dominant form among all sequenced SARS-CoV isolates. A 17-nt segment of this extra sequence is identical to a segment of the same size in two human mRNA sequences that may interfere with viral replication and transcription in the cytosol of the infected cells. It provides a new avenue for the exploration of the virus-host interaction in viral evolution, host pathogenesis, and vaccine development.