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Vaccine. 2011 Jan 17;29(4):681-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.11.030. Epub 2010 Nov 27.

Vaccine-induced intestinal immunity to ricin toxin in the absence of secretory IgA.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Disease, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, 120 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


The RNA N-glycosidase ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) constitute a ubiquitous family of plant- and bacterium-derived toxins that includes the category B select agents ricin, abrin and shiga toxin. While these toxins are potent inducers of intestinal epithelial cell death and inflammation, very little is known about the mechanisms underlying mucosal immunity to these toxins. In the present study, we report that secretory IgA (SIgA) antibodies are not required for intestinal immunity to ricin, as evidenced by the fact that mice devoid of SIgA, due to a mutation in the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor, were impervious to the effects of intragastric toxin challenge following ricin toxoid immunization. Furthermore, parenteral administration of ricin-specific monoclonal IgGs, directed against either ricin's enzymatic subunit (RTA) or ricin's binding subunit (RTB), to wild type mice was as effective as monoclonal IgAs with comparable specificities in imparting intestinal immunity to ricin. These data are consistent with reports from others demonstrating that immunization of mice by routes known not to induce mucosal antibody responses (e.g., intramuscular and intradermal) is sufficient to elicit protection against both systemic and mucosal ricin challenges.

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