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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 372-378

Detection of anthrax toxin genetic sequences by the solid phase oligo-probes

1 South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC 29115, USA
2 Department of English and Foreign Languages, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC 29115, USA

Correspondence Address:
O Bagasra
South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC 29115
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Source of Support: The studies were partially supported by Army Research Office Grant # W911NF.09.1.0058, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.90169

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Purpose: There is an urgent need to detect a rapid field-based test to detect anthrax. We have developed a rapid, highly sensitive DNA-based method to detect the anthrax toxin lethal factor gene located in pXO1, which is necessary for the pathogenicity of Bacillus anthracis. Materials and Methods: We have adopted the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) so that instead of capturing antibodies we capture the DNA of the target sequence by a rapid oligo-based hybridization and then detect the captured DNA with another oligoprobe that binds to a different motif of the captured DNA sequences at a dissimilar location. We chose anthrax lethal factor endopeptidase sequences located in pXO1 and used complementary oligoprobe, conjugated with biotin, to detect the captured anthrax specific sequence by the streptavidin-peroxidase-based colorimetric assay. Result: Our system can detect picomoles (pMoles) of anthrax (approximately 33 spores of anthrax) and is >1000 times more sensitive than the current ELISA, which has a detection range of 0.1 to 1.0 ng/mL. False positive results can be minimized when various parameters and the colour development steps are optimized. Conclusion: Our results suggest that this assay can be adapted for the rapid detection of minuscule amounts of the anthrax spores that are aerosolized in the case of a bioterrorism attack. This detection system does not require polymerase chain reaction (PCR) step and can be more specific than the antibody method. This method can also detect genetically engineered anthrax. Since, the antibody method is so specific to the protein epitope that bioengineered versions of anthrax may not be detected.


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