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J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Sep;31(9):2402-9.

Sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxins A, B, and E using signal amplification via enzyme-linked coagulation assay.

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Department of Biochemistry, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157.


A new immunoassay amplification method has been applied to the measurement of toxins A, B, and E from Clostridium botulinum. The technique is a modified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) which relies on the detection of sandwich complexes on microtiter plates by a solid-phase coagulation assay known as ELCA, or enzyme-linked coagulation assay. In the method, a coagulation activating enzyme (RVV-XA) isolated from the venom of Russell's viper is conjugated to affinity-purified horse antibodies specific for toxin type A, B, or E. Plates are coated with affinity-purified antibodies, and standard captag (capture-tag) protocols using labeled antibody are employed to bind the toxin from solution. Complexes are detected by adding a modified plasma substrate which contains all the coagulation factors mixed with alkaline phosphatase-labeled fibrinogen and solid-phase fibrinogen; deposition of solid-phase, enzyme-labeled fibrin on the solid phase is then a reflection of formation of toxin-RVV-XA-antibody complexes on the solid phase. Because of the ability to detect RVV-XA by this coagulation assay at concentrations < 0.1 pg/ml, it was possible to measure C. botulinum toxins A, B, and E at mouse bioassay levels (< 10 pg/ml, or < 0.07 pM) for both purified neurotoxin and crude culture filtrates obtained from strains known to produce appropriate single toxins. ELISA-ELCA should be applicable to measurement of toxins in most of the materials (contaminated food, blood, and excreta) for which the comparably sensitive mouse bioassay is currently employed. This method has the potential of broad application to the measurement of low concentrations of any antigen for which appropriate immunochemical reagents are available, in a color test format.

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