Evaluation of antibody responses against SARS coronaviral nucleocapsid or spike proteins by immunoblotting or ELISA.J Med Virol. 2004 Jul; 73(3):338-46.JM
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV is a newly emerging virus that causes SARS with high mortality rate in infected people. To study the humoral responses against SARS-CoV, we evaluated nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins-specific antibodies in patients' sera by Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Recombinant N and S proteins of SARS-CoV were purified from transformed E. coli. Serum specimens from 40 SARS-CoV-infected patients in the convalescent phase were analyzed by Western blotting using the purified antigens. Serial serum specimens from 12 RT-PCR-confirmed SARS patients were assayed by ELISA using the recombinant N protein as coated antigen. By Western blotting, 97.5% of the SARS patients were positive for N protein-specific antibodies whereas only 47.5% of the samples were positive for S protein-specific antibodies. Using N protein-based ELISA, 10 out of the 12 patients were positive for N protein-specific antibodies and 6 of them showed seroconversion at mean of 16 days after onset of fever. Immunoblotting was useful for detecting the humoral immune response after SARS-CoV infection. Antibodies against SARS-CoV N protein appear at the early stage of infection, therefore, N protein-based ELISA could serve as a simple, sensitive, and specific test for diagnosing SARS-CoV infection.