Stability of ACE2 Peptide Mimetics and Their Implications on the Application for SARS-CoV2 Detection
The SARS-CoV-2 worldwide outbreak prompted the development of several tools to detect and treat the disease. Among the new detection proposals, the use of peptides mimetics has surged as an alternative to avoid the use of antibodies, of which there has been a shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the use of peptides in detection systems still presents some questions to be answered, mainly referring to their stability under different environmental conditions. In this work, we synthesized an ACE2 peptide mimic and evaluated its stability in different pH, salinity, polarity, and temperature conditions. Further, the same conditions were assessed when using the ability of the peptide mimic to detect the recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a biotin-streptavidin-enzyme-linked assay. Finally, we also tested the capacity of the peptide to detect SARS-CoV-2 from patients' samples. The results indicate that the peptide is structurally sensitive to the medium conditions, with relevance to the pH, where basic pH favored its performance when used as a SARS-CoV-2 detector. Further, the proposed peptide mimic was able to detect SARS-CoV-2 comparably to RT-qPCR results. Therefore, the present study promotes knowledge advancement, particularly in terms of stability considerations, in the application of peptide mimics as a replacement for antibodies in detection systems.
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