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Rapid Cell-Based Assay for Detection and Quantification of Active Staphylococcal Enterotoxin Type D

Reuven Rasooly, Paula M. Do, Bradley J. Hernlem
Journal of food science 2017 v.82 no.3 pp. 718-723
B-lymphocytes, Staphylococcus aureus, T-lymphocytes, animal use reduction, antibodies, antigen presentation, bacteria, bioassays, bioluminescence, children, detection limit, disease detection, enterotoxins, freeze-thaw cycles, genetic engineering, ingestion, kittens, luciferase, milk, monkeys, neutralization, pasteurization, poisoning, protective effect, rapid methods, response elements, splenocytes, staphylococcal intoxication, Guam
Food poisoning by Staphylococcus aureus is a result of ingestion of Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) produced by this bacterium and is a major source of foodborne illness. Staphylococcal enterotoxin D (SED) is one of the predominant enterotoxins recovered in Staphylococcal food poisoning incidences, including a recent outbreak in Guam affecting 300 children. Current immunology methods for SED detection cannot distinguish between the biologically active form of the toxin, which poses a threat, from the inactive form, which poses no threat. In vivo bioassays that measure emetic activity in kitten and monkeys have been used, but these methods rely upon expensive procedures using live animals and raising ethical concerns. A rapid (5 h) quantitative bioluminescence assay, using a genetically engineered T-cell Jurkat cell line expressing luciferase under regulation of nuclear factor of activated T cells response elements, in combination with the lymphoblastoid B-cell line Raji for antigen presentation, was developed. In this assay, the detection limit of biologically active SED is 100 ng/mL, which is 10 times more sensitive than the splenocyte proliferation assay, and 10^5 times more sensitive than monkey or kitten bioassay. Pasteurization or repeated freeze–thaw cycles had no effect on SED activity, but reduction in SED activity was shown with heat treatment at 100°C for 5 min. It was also shown that milk exhibits a protective effect on SED. This bioluminescence assay may also be used to rapidly evaluate antibodies to SED for potential therapeutic application as a measurement of neutralizing biological effects of SED.