Long-term antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 have focused on responses to full-length spike protein, specific domains within spike, or nucleoprotein. In this study, we used high-density peptide microarrays representing the complete proteome of SARS-CoV-2 to identify binding sites (epitopes) targeted by antibodies present in the blood of COVID-19 resolved cases at 5 months post-diagnosis. Compared to previous studies that evaluated epitope-specific responses early post-diagnosis (< 60 days), we found that epitope-specific responses to nucleoprotein and spike protein have contracted, and that responses to membrane protein have expanded. Although antibody titers to full-length spike and nucleoprotein remain steady over months, taken together our data suggest that the population of epitope-specific antibodies that contribute to this reactivity is dynamic and evolves over time. Further, the spike epitopes bound by polyclonal antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent serum samples aligned with known target sites that can neutralize viral activity suggesting that the maintenance of these antibodies might provide rapid serological immunity. Finally, the most dominant epitopes for membrane protein and spike showed high diagnostic accuracy providing novel biomarkers to refine blood-based antibody tests. This study provides new insights into the specific regions of SARS-CoV-2 targeted by serum antibodies long after infection.

Fuente: Scientific Reports

Published: 31 May 2022