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Identification of four linear B-cell epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein able to elicit neutralizing antibodies

By Lin Li, Zhongpeng Zhao, Xiaolan Yang, WenDong Li, Shaolong Chen, Ting Sun, Lu Wang, YuFei He, Guang Liu, Xiaohan Han, Hao Wen, Yong Liu, Yifan Chen, Haoyu Wang, Jing Li, Zhongyi Su, Du Chen, Yiting Wang, Xinyang Li, Zeqian Yang, Jie Wang, Min Li, Tiecheng Wang, Ying Wang, Yubo Fan, Hui Wang, Jing Zhang

Posted 13 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.13.422550

SARS-CoV-2 unprecedentedly threatens the public health at worldwide level. There is an urgent need to develop an effective vaccine within a highly accelerated time. Here, we present the most comprehensive S-protein-based linear B-cell epitope candidate list by combining epitopes predicted by eight widely-used immune-informatics methods with the epitopes curated from literature published between Feb 6, 2020 and July 10, 2020. We find four top prioritized linear B-cell epitopes in the hotspot regions of S protein can specifically bind with serum antibodies from horse, mouse, and monkey inoculated with different SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates or a patient recovering from COVID-19. The four linear B-cell epitopes can induce neutralizing antibodies against both pseudo and live SARS-CoV-2 virus in immunized wild-type BALB/c mice. This study suggests that the four linear B-cell epitopes are potentially important candidates for serological assay or vaccine development.

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