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Comparison of immunoglobulin G responses to the spike and nucleocapsid proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in patients with SARS.

  • Zhao, Jincun
  • Wang, Wei
  • Wang, Wenling
  • Zhao, Zhendong
  • Zhang, Yan
  • Lv, Ping
  • Ren, Furong
  • Gao, Xiao-Ming
Published Article
Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2007
PMID: 17475765


Both the nucleocapsid (N) and the spike (S) proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) are able to induce strong humoral responses in humans following an infection. To compare the immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses to the S and N proteins of SARS-CoV in SARS patients during the manifestation/convalescent period with those during the postinfection period, serum samples were collected from hospitalized SARS patients within 6 weeks after the onset of illness (set 1; 57 sequential samples from 19 patients) or 2 to 3 months after their recovery (set 2; 33 postinfection samples from 33 subjects). Serum samples from 100 healthy blood donors (set 3), collected in 2002, were also included. The specific IgG response to whole virus, the fragment from positions 450 to 650 of the S protein (S450-650), and the full-length N protein of SARS-CoV were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Western blot assays were carried out to confirm the ELISA results. Fifty-one of the serum samples in set 1 (89%) bound to the N protein, a proportion similar to that which recognized whole virus (79%) and the S-protein fragment (77%). All 33 serum samples from set 2 were strongly positive for N-protein-specific IgG, while 27 (82%) were positive for anti-S450-650 IgG. Two of the serum samples from set 3 were strongly positive for anti-N-protein IgG but not anti-S450-650 IgG. Similar levels of IgG responses to the S and N proteins were observed in SARS patients during the manifestation and convalescent stages. In the postinfection period, however, a number of patients had much lower serum IgG levels against S450-650 than against the N protein.

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