The substrate was removed and the cells were washed once with water (1 ml) to stop the reaction. lysates was inefficient even when an intact furin cleavage signal was present. Indirect immunofluorescence exhibited the S glycoprotein reached the cell Ansamitocin P-3 surface. Since the S protein is a major antigenic target for the development of neutralizing antibodies we investigated the development of neutralizing antibody titers in serial serum samples obtained from COVID-19 human patients. These were comparable regardless of the presence of an intact or deleted furin cleavage signal. These studies Ansamitocin P-3 illustrate the need to characterize virus stocks meticulously prior to performing either or pathogenesis studies. the proposed bat reservoir virus. This generates a novel, putative, furin cleavage signal not seen in other clade members (21). It was subsequently shown that prior furin cleavage enhanced entry of a pseudovirus made up of the SARS-CoV-2 S protein into different cell lines expressing hACE2 (22, 23). The furin cleavage site is also required for SARS-CoV-2 contamination of human lung cells (24). The S protein, along with the N and M proteins, is usually also a major antigenic target. A study of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 found that CD4+ cells were directed predominantly against S, N and M proteins and CD8+ cells were directed predominantly against S and M proteins, with Ansamitocin P-3 significant reactivity also against N protein, along with some non-structural proteins (25). Ansamitocin P-3 Using an N-protein ELISA, IgM and IgA antibodies have been detected as early as three days post symptom onset (d.p.s.o.) with IgG antibodies detected as early as ten d.p.s.o. (26). The S protein is the major target for neutralizing antibodies (27, 28) and neutralizing antibody titers were reported to be higher in older COVID-19 patients (28). Two linear B-cell epitopes have been reported around the S protein and it was shown that antibodies recognizing these epitopes accounted for a high proportion of the anti-S neutralizing antibody response (29). In this study we aimed to characterize SARS-CoV-2 isolates from two sources virologically and immunologically and determine the impact passage in Vero-E6 cells had around the genetic sequence of the furin cleavage site. We examined the effect of virus passage on stability of the furin cleavage signal at the S1/S2 boundary, and subsequently investigated if there are differences in neutralizing antibody titers for viruses that have different sequences in this region. Neutralization activity was assessed using serial serum samples from Rabbit Polyclonal to RPS6KC1 acutely infected COVID-19 patients. Such analyses are critical for standardization of virus strains prior to generation of cDNA clones, examination of cell conversation characteristics, pathogenesis studies and identification of appropriate challenge strains for vaccine and therapeutic efficacy studies. Methods Virus growth and assays were performed at Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) conditions in the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) in the Ansamitocin P-3 Center for Vaccine Research, at the University of Pittsburgh. All infectious material was inactivated using University of Pittsburgh Biohazards/Biosafety committee-approved protocols prior to removal from BSL-3 to allow assays to be conducted at lower containment. Cells Vero 76 cells, Clone E6, were purchased from ATCC and were produced in DMEM (Corning) supplemented with 10% (v/v) FBS (Atlanta Biologicals), 1% (v/v) L-glutamine (Corning) and 1% (v/v) penicillin-streptomycin (pen-strep; Corning). Serum samples De-identified, serum samples from three acutely infected COVID-19 (PCR-confirmed) patients treated at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) were received, aliquoted at BSL-2+ (Table 1). These specimens were obtained as excess pathological specimens under IRB approved protocols. Table 1. Serum samples used for plaque reduction neutralization and indirect immunofluorescence assays transcription using the mMessage mMachine T7 kit (Ambion) and following the manufacturers instructions. The limit of detection (LOD) was 23.2 genome copies. Table 2: DNA oligos used for reverse transcription, polymerase chain reaction and sequencing DNA polymerase, 2X Grasp Mix (NEB) and cDNA primer (cPRM, Kit SQK-LSK108). PCR conditions were set as initial denaturation for 30 seconds at 95C, followed by 18 cycles of denaturation for 15 seconds at 95C, annealing for 15 seconds at 62C and extension for 25 minutes at 65C, followed by final extension for 10 minutes at 65C. Exonuclease I (20 U, NEB) was added to each PCR reaction and incubated at 37 C for 15 minutes, followed by heat inactivation for 15 minutes. PCR reactions were pooled and purified with Agencourt AMPure XP beads (Beckman Coulter). Purified cDNA was eluted in 21 l Rapid Annealing Buffer (RAB, Kit SQK-LSK108) and quantified using a Qubit Fluorometer (Qubit 4, Life Technologies; Qubit (ds)DNA HS Assay Kit). 5 l of cDNA Adapter Mix (cAMX, Kit SQK-LSK108) was added to the cDNA library and incubated for 5 minutes at room temperature on.