Establishing SARS-CoV-2 membrane protein-specific antibodies as a valuable serological target via high-content microscopy.
Williams DM., Hornsby HR., Shehata OM., Brown R., Gallis M., Meardon N., Newman TAH., Plowright M., Zafred D., Shun-Shion ASM., Hodder AJ., Bliss D., Metcalfe A., Edgar JR., Gordon DE., Sayers JR., Nicklin MJ., Carroll M., PITCH Consortium None., Collini PJ., Brown S., de Silva TI., Peden AA.
The prevalence and strength of serological responses mounted toward SARS-CoV-2 proteins other than nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S), which may be of use as additional serological markers, remains underexplored. Using high-content microscopy to assess antibody responses against full-length StrepTagged SARS-CoV-2 proteins, we found that 85% (166/196) of unvaccinated individuals with RT-PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections and 74% (31/42) of individuals infected after being vaccinated developed detectable IgG against the structural protein M, which is higher than previous estimates. Compared with N antibodies, M IgG displayed a shallower time-dependent decay and greater specificity. Sensitivity for SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was enhanced when N and M IgG detection was combined. These findings indicate that screening for M seroconversion may be a good approach for detecting additional vaccine breakthrough infections and highlight the potential to use HCM as a rapidly deployable method to identify the most immunogenic targets of newly emergent pathogens.