SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid protein (nucleoprotein, N protein) is one of the four major structural proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus, together with membrane (M), envelope (E) and Spike (S) protein. It is involved in transcription, replication and packaging of the viral RNA genome into a helical ribonucleocapsid.
The SARS-CoV-2 N protein is a ~45 kDa protein and one of the most abundantly expressed viral proteins. Its amino acid sequence is largely conserved and it shares 91% and 47% amino acid sequence identity with SARS-CoV-1 and MERS N protein, respectively. It displays high immunogenic activity which makes it a suitable candidate for detection of patient anti-N antibodies and use in serological diagnostic kits.