The Generation of Antibodies against Human Coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) Nucleocapsid Protein
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Coronaviruses (CoVs) are enveloped viruses composed of single-stranded, positive sense RNA viruses with the largest viral genomes among RNA viruses (27-33 kb). In 2004, human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) was discovered by researchers from The Netherlands. Since its discovery, it has been found in countries all over the world and affects mainly young children between ages 0-5 years old, immunocompromised and elderly people. HCoV-NL63 has been indicated to cause both mild upper and more serious, but less common, lower respiratory tract infections and are commonly associated with other respiratory viruses in co-infections that can increase the severity of HCoV-NL63 infection. The nucleocapsid (N) protein of HCoV-NL63 is a multifunctional phosphoprotein that modulates the assembly of the ribonucleocapsid core of mature virions. During infection, the N protein is expressed at high levels within an infected cell and elicits a strong immune response in infected patients. For this reason, N protein was used to generate antibodies against an immune response to the presence of HCoV-NL63 N protein in mouse blood serum.