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SARS-CoV-2 Peptide Bioconjugates Designed for Antibody Diagnostics.

Ryzhov IM, Tuzikov AB, Nizovtsev AV, Baidakova LK, Galanina OE, Shilova NV, Ziganshina MM, Dolgushina NV, Bayramova GR, Sukhikh GT, Williams EC, Nagappan R, Henry SM, Bovin NV. SARS-CoV-2 Peptide Bioconjugates Designed for Antibody Diagnostics. Bioconjugate chemistry. 2021 Aug 18; 32(8):1606-1616.

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In the near future, the increase in the number of required tests for COVID-19 antibodies is expected to be many hundreds of millions. Obviously, this will be done using a variety of analytical methods and using different antigens, including peptides. In this work, we compare three method variations for detecting specific immunoglobulins directed against peptides of approximately 15-aa of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These linear peptide epitopes were selected using antigenicity algorithms, and were synthesized with an additional terminal cysteine residue for their bioconjugation. In two of the methods, constructs were prepared where the peptide (F, function) is attached to a negatively charged hydrophilic spacer (S) linked to a dioleoylphosphatidyl ethanolamine residue (L, lipid) to create a function-spacer-lipid construct (FSL). These FSLs were easily and controllably incorporated into erythrocytes for serologic testing or in a lipid bilayer deposited on a polystyrene microplate for use in an enzyme immunoassays (EIA). The third method, also an EIA, used polyacrylamide conjugated peptides (peptide-PAA) prepared by controlled condensation of the cysteine residue of the peptide with the maleimide-derived PAA polymer which were immobilized on polystyrene microplates by physisorption of the polymer. In this work, we describe the synthesis of the PAA and FSL peptide bioconjugates, design of test systems, and comparison of the bioassays results, and discuss potential reasons for higher performance of the FSL conjugates, particularly in the erythrocyte-based serologic assay.

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