Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology | VOL. 106

Simultaneous detection of antibody responses to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens by a Western blot serological assay

Publication Date Nov 21, 2022


The nucleic acid test is still the standard assessment for the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by human infection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In addition to supporting the confirmation of disease cases, serological assays are used for the analysis of antibody status and epidemiological surveys. In this study, a single Western blot strip (WBS) coated with multiple Escherichia coli (E. coli)-expressed SARS-CoV-2 antigens was developed for comprehensive studies of antibody profiles in COVID-19 patient sera. The levels of specific antibodies directed to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S), S2, and nucleocapsid (N) proteins were gradually increased with the same tendency as the disease progressed after hospitalization. The signal readouts of S, S2, and N revealed by the multi-antigen-coated WBS (mWBS)-based serological assay (mWBS assay) also demonstrated a positive correlation with the SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing potency of the sera measured by the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) assays. Surprisingly, the detection signals against the unstructured receptor-binding domain (RBD) purified from E. coli inclusion bodies were not observed, although the COVID-19 patient sera exhibited strong neutralizing potency in the PRNT assays, suggesting that the RBD-specific antibodies in patient sera mostly recognize the conformational epitopes. Furthermore, the mWBS assay identified a unique and major antigenic epitope at the residues 1148, 1149, 1152, 1155, and 1156 located within...


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Western Blot Strip Serological Assay Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test Major Antigenic Epitope Antibodies In Patient Sera RBD-specific Antibodies Nucleic Acid Test Coronavirus Disease 2019 Unique Epitope

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