ProSci applauds the work described in two recent publications regarding the synthesis, production, and utility of SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particles (VLPs).

Naskalska et al. (2021) (DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.732998) created recombinant His-tagged forms of SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins that allowed for the formation of functional VLPs in a Baculovirus expression system and subsequent purification by affinity chromatography. The VLPs, comprised of S, M, and E, only entered ACE2-expressing cells. These researchers used antibodies to track VLP cell entry, relying on a ProSci anti-M antibody purchased from (ABIN6952906).

Syed et al. (2021) Science 10.1126/science.abl6184 (2021) discovered the RNA component in the SARS-CoV-2 genome that is required to direct packaging of the RNA genome by Nucleoprotein, N. The VLPs created by Syed et al. (2021) contain S, M, E, and N as well as an exogenous RNA component. The specificity and requirements for cell entry were gauged by the expression of a luciferase RNA construct included as the exogenous RNA component.

Being able to package an RNA component in the VLP provided Syed et al. (2021) a tool for the rapid assessment of the role of any SARS-CoV-2 mutation in the virus life cycle. The use of this VLP tool led to the discovery of the role of a previously non-studied mutation in N, which seemingly contributes to the increased spreading capability of the Delta variant.

These studies show there is still much to learn regarding SARS-CoV-2 and its pathogenesis. ProSci is a one-stop shop for antibodies to detect and locate viral proteins and antibodies and recombinant proteins to discover cellular factors involved in and affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection.