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      Proteomic Methods of Detection and Quantification of Protein Toxins


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          Biological toxins are a heterogeneous group of compounds that share commonalities with biological and chemical agents. Among them, protein toxins represent a considerable, diverse set. They cover a broad range of molecular weights from less than 1000 Da to more than 150 kDa. This review aims to compare conventional detection methods of protein toxins such as in vitro bioassays with proteomic methods, including immunoassays and mass spectrometry-based techniques and their combination. Special emphasis is given to toxins falling into a group of selected agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as Staphylococcal enterotoxins, Bacillus anthracis toxins, Clostridium botulinum toxins, Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin, ricin from Ricinus communis, Abrin from Abrus precatorius or control of trade in dual-use items in the European Union, including lesser known protein toxins such as Viscumin from Viscum album. The analysis of protein toxins and monitoring for biological threats, i.e., the deliberate spread of infectious microorganisms or toxins through water, food, or the air, requires rapid and reliable methods for the early identification of these agents.

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          Laboratory diagnostics of botulism.

          Botulism is a potentially lethal paralytic disease caused by botulinum neurotoxin. Human pathogenic neurotoxins of types A, B, E, and F are produced by a diverse group of anaerobic spore-forming bacteria, including Clostridium botulinum groups I and II, Clostridium butyricum, and Clostridium baratii. The routine laboratory diagnostics of botulism is based on the detection of botulinum neurotoxin in the patient. Detection of toxin-producing clostridia in the patient and/or the vehicle confirms the diagnosis. The neurotoxin detection is based on the mouse lethality assay. Sensitive and rapid in vitro assays have been developed, but they have not yet been appropriately validated on clinical and food matrices. Culture methods for C. botulinum are poorly developed, and efficient isolation and identification tools are lacking. Molecular techniques targeted to the neurotoxin genes are ideal for the detection and identification of C. botulinum, but they do not detect biologically active neurotoxin and should not be used alone. Apart from rapid diagnosis, the laboratory diagnostics of botulism should aim at increasing our understanding of the epidemiology and prevention of the disease. Therefore, the toxin-producing organisms should be routinely isolated from the patient and the vehicle. The physiological group and genetic traits of the isolates should be determined.
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            Rapid detection of an anthrax biomarker by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

            A rapid detection protocol suitable for use by first-responders to detect anthrax spores using a low-cost, battery-powered, portable Raman spectrometer has been developed. Bacillus subtilis spores, harmless simulants for Bacillus anthracis, were studied using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) on silver film over nanosphere (AgFON) substrates. Calcium dipicolinate (CaDPA), a biomarker for bacillus spores, was efficiently extracted by sonication in nitric acid and rapidly detected by SERS. AgFON surfaces optimized for 750 nm laser excitation have been fabricated and characterized by UV-vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and SERS. The SERS signal from extracted CaDPA was measured over the spore concentration range of 10(-14)-10(-12) M to determine the saturation binding capacity of the AgFON surface and to calculate the adsorption constant (Kspore=1.7 x 10(13) M(-1)). At present, an 11 min procedure is capable of achieving a limit of detection (LOD) of approximately 2.6 x 10(3) spores, below the anthrax infectious dose of 10(4) spores. The data presented herein also demonstrate that the shelf life of prefabricated AgFON substrates can be as long as 40 days prior to use. Finally, these sensing capabilities have been successfully transitioned from a laboratory spectrometer to a field-portable instrument. Using this technology, 10(4) bacillus spores were detected with a 5 s data acquisition period on a 1 month old AgFON substrate. The speed and sensitivity of this SERS sensor indicate that this technology can be used as a viable option for the field analysis of potentially harmful environmental samples.
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              Western blotting.

              Western blotting (protein blotting or immunoblotting) is a powerful and important procedure for the immunodetection of proteins post-electrophoresis, particularly proteins that are of low abundance. Since the inception of the protocol for protein transfer from an electrophoresed gel to a membrane in 1979, protein blotting has evolved greatly. The scientific community is now confronted with a variety of ways and means to carry out this transfer. This review describes the various procedures that have been used to transfer proteins from a gel to a membrane based on the principles of simple diffusion, vacuum-assisted solvent flow and electrophoretic elution. Finally, a brief description of methods generally used to detect antigens on blots is also described.

                Author and article information

                Toxins (Basel)
                Toxins (Basel)
                28 February 2018
                March 2018
                : 10
                : 3
                [1 ]Faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defense in Brno, Třebešská 1575, CZ-500 01 Hradec Králové, Czech Republic; jana.klimentova@ 123456unob.cz (J.K.); alena.myslivcovafucikova@ 123456unob.cz (A.F.)
                [2 ]Military Health Institute, Military Medical Agency, Tychonova 1, CZ-160 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic; jiri.dresler@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: miloslava.duracova@ 123456unob.cz ; Tel.: +420-736-449-040
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                Molecular medicine
                protein toxins,analytical methods,proteomic,bio-terrorism
                Molecular medicine
                protein toxins, analytical methods, proteomic, bio-terrorism


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