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J Bacteriol. 1968 Mar;95(3):907-18.

Purification and properties of in vitro-produced anthrax toxin components.


The three components of the toxin of Bacillus anthracis, edema factor (EF), protective antigen (PA), and lethal factor (LF), were purified 197-, 156-, and 1,025- fold, with 38, 78, and 11% recovery, respectively. Each purified component was serologically active, distinct, and free from the other components. The purified EF produced edema when mixed with PA, and the purified PA was an active immunogen. The components did not appear to be simple proteins by spectrophotometric analysis. As they were purified, the pH range in which they were most stable narrowed, centering between pH 7.4 and 7.8. Heat readily destroyed the biological activity of the components but not their serological activity. The rat lethality test showed that, with a constant amount of LF and an increasing amount of PA, the time to death reached a minimum and then was extended. When an increasing amount of LF was added to a constant amount of PA, the time to death became shorter as more LF was added. The biological, immunological, and serological properties of the components were shown to vary independently with storage and extent of purification so that serological activity was not always directly correlated with biological activity. Evidence is presented that the components can exist in different molecular configurations or as aggregates, and that this property is influenced by the state of component purity and by the environment.

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