Single-domain antibody for binding the conserved epitope in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain
Several COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in the last three years using various tecnhiques. Multiple virus-neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 have been also obtained to combat the pandemic. However, the use of these medications for prevention and potential treatment faces significant challenges due to the emergence of new mutant virus variants, both more contagious and escaping neutralization by the immune system, that is why it is necessary to continuously renew the vaccines and develop new therapeutic antibodies. The study was aimed to use the technology of generating single-domain antibodies (nanobodies) to target the surface spike (S) protein RBD conserved epitope of the broad spectrum of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Recombinant proteins that corresponded to RBDs of three important SARS-СoV-2 strains and the full-length S protein (Wuhan) were used as antigens for immunization of a camel in order to induce production of appropriate antibodies and/or as immobilized proteins for further cross selection of the nanobody clones with pre-set specificity by the phage display. A nanobody capable of effectively recognizing the conservative region in the S protein RBDs of the broad spectrum of pandemic SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron, was selected from the generated immune library. Along with conventional use in immunoassays and diagnosis, the generated nanobody can be potentially used as a module for target-specific binding used to trap coronavirus in human upper airways during the development of novel combination antiviral drugs.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, nanobody, conserved epitope, single-domain antibody, virus retention