Previously, we have identified a truncated antigenic fragment named protein C [441 to 700 amino acids (a.a.)] as the immunodominant fragment of Spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV). We have now successfully expressed protein C using the baculovirus system in S. frugiperda (Sf-9) cells. This recombinant baculovirus expressing protein C was first characterized using five SARS convalescent human sera and five normal human sera. The results showed that protein C is an authentic antigen against SARS-CoV antibody. Our Spike protein-based immunoflourescence assay (IFA) based on this recombinant baculovirus-Sf-9 system was further assessed with a panel of 163 clinical samples collected during the SARS epidemic in Singapore, which include samples from 21 clinically confirmed SARS, 42 non-SARS patient sera, and 100 normal sera. The results were compared to a commercial SARS IFA kit (EUROIMMUN, Germany) and a conventional IFA test performed in Singapore General Hospital. All of the 21 SARS-positive serum samples could be recognized by our IFA, giving a specificity and sensitivity of 100%, which was compatible with both whole virus-based IFA assays. No cross-reactivity with serum samples against infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) were detected in our assays. Thus, our Spike protein-based IFA could offer a safer procedure which can be performed in a BSL-2 laboratory as it could mimic the whole virus based-IFA without any loss of sensitivity and specificity. It is also more user-friendly and cost-effective than the whole virus-based IFA. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Manopo, I., Lu, L., He, Q., Chee, L. L., Chan, S. W., & Kwang, J. (2005). Evaluation of a safe and sensitive Spike protein-based immunofluorescence assay for the detection of antibody responses to SARS-CoV. Journal of Immunological Methods, 296(1-2). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2004.10.012