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Anal Biochem. 2007 Sep 1;368(1):39-48. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

GM(1)-functionalized liposomes in a microtiter plate assay for cholera toxin in Vibrio cholerae culture samples.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent for cholera, infects its host by expressing a protein consisting of two subunits: the pentameric cholera toxin B (CTB) and cholera toxin A (CTA). CTB frequently is used as an indicator of the presence of pathogenic V. cholerae and typically is detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). In lieu of an enzyme-linked detection method, we have developed GM(1) ganglioside-functionalized fluorescent dye-encapsulating liposomes for the detection of CTB produced by V. cholerae in a simple microtiter plate assay. Liposomes were compared with fluorescein-labeled antibodies and enzyme-linked secondary antibodies for quantification of purified CTB. A limit of detection for CTB using the liposomes was 340pg/ml, which was comparable to that using the ELISA but 18 times lower than that using the fluorescein-labeled anti-CTB antibodies for the same purpose. The sensitivity of the assay provided by the liposomes was substantial, and the working range improved when compared with that of the fluorescein-labeled antibodies and the ELISA. In addition, the liposomes required shorter assay times, exhibited greater precision, and were less expensive compared with the ELISA. The liposomes were optimized with respect to phospholipid and ganglioside concentrations. The optimized liposomes were then used to probe culture supernatants from V. cholerae El Tor C6706 grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium and AKI medium for the presence of CTB.

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