Comparison of immunoreactivity of staphylococcal enterotoxin B mutants for use as toxin surrogates

George P Anderson, Patricia M Legler, Dan Zabetakis, Ellen R Goldman
Analytical Chemistry 2012 June 19, 84 (12): 5198-203
The development and testing of detection methodologies for biothreat agents are by their very nature complicated by the necessity to handle hazardous materials. Toxoids prepared by thermal or chemical inactivation are often used in place of the native toxin; however, the process of detoxification can decrease the agent's ability to be detected at similar concentrations. One method to overcome this limitation is the use of toxin mutants which have altered amino acid sequences sufficient to abrogate or greatly reduce their toxic activity. While this method of toxoid preparation is much more controlled, there is still no guarantee that the resulting product will be equal in detectability to the native toxin. In this work, we have evaluated the utility of two recombinantly expressed Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B (SEB) mutants, a single point mutant (Y89A), and a mutant with three amino acids changed (L45R, Y89A, Y94A), to act as surrogates for SEB in immunoassays. We evaluated the affinity of a number of anti-SEB monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and an anti-SEB single domain antibody (sdAb) for SEB and its surrogates. One of the mAb's affinity was decreased by a factor of 3000 for the triple mutant, and another mAb's affinity for the triple mutant was decreased by 11-fold while the others bound the mutants nearly as well as they did the native toxin. MAGPIX sandwich immunoassays were used to evaluate the ability of all combinations of the recognition reagents to detect the SEB mutants in comparison to SEB and a chemically inactivated SEB. These results show that recombinant mutants of SEB can serve as much more useful surrogates for this hazardous material relative to the chemically inactivated toxin; however, even the point mutant impacted limits of detection, illustrating the need to evaluate the utility of toxin mutants on a case-by-case basis depending on the immunoreagents being employed.

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