Epitope-based peptide vaccine design and target site depiction against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus: an immune-informatics study.J Transl Med. 2019 11 08; 17(1):362.JT
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COV) is the main cause of lung and kidney infections in developing countries such as Saudi Arabia and South Korea. This infectious single-stranded, positive (+) sense RNA virus enters the host by binding to dipeptidyl-peptide receptors. Since no vaccine is yet available for MERS-COV, rapid case identification, isolation, and infection prevention strategies must be used to combat the spreading of MERS-COV infection. Additionally, there is a desperate need for vaccines and antiviral strategies.
The present study used immuno-informatics and computational approaches to identify conserved B- and T cell epitopes for the MERS-COV spike (S) protein that may perform a significant role in eliciting the resistance response to MERS-COV infection.
Many conserved cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitopes and discontinuous and linear B-cell epitopes were predicted for the MERS-COV S protein, and their antigenicity and interactions with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) B7 allele were estimated. Among B-cell epitopes, QLQMGFGITVQYGT displayed the highest antigenicity-score, and was immensely immunogenic. Among T-cell epitopes, MHC class-I peptide YKLQPLTFL and MHC class-II peptide YCILEPRSG were identified as highly antigenic. Furthermore, docking analyses revealed that the predicted peptides engaged in strong bonding with the HLA-B7 allele.
The present study identified several MERS-COV S protein epitopes that are conserved among various isolates from different countries. The putative antigenic epitopes may prove effective as novel vaccines for eradication and combating of MERS-COV infection.