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Interleukin 2 Secretion by T Cells for Detection of Biologically Active Staphylococcal Enterotoxin Type E

Reuven Rasooly, Paula Do, Bradley J. Hernlem
Journal of food protection 2017 v.80 no.11 pp. 1857-1862
Staphylococcus aureus, T-lymphocytes, animals, biomarkers, dose response, enterotoxins, gastroenteritis, interleukin-2, secretion, superantigens, toxicity, France, United Kingdom, United States
Staphylococcus aureus is a significant worldwide source of clinical infections and foodborne illnesses; it acts through the synthesis of a group of enterotoxins (SEs) that cause gastroenteritis and also function as superantigens that activate T cells, resulting in massive cytokine production, yielding life-threatening toxicity. It is important that methods for detection and quantification of these toxins respond to their activity and not just the presence of the toxin molecule, which may be deactivated. Traditionally, live animals have been used to test for emesis following administration of the toxin-containing sample. Here, we present results studying cell-based alternatives for the assay of active staphylococcal enterotoxin type E (SEE), a toxin subtype identified in foodborne outbreaks in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. We found that interleukin 2 production by T cells can be used as a specific biological marker for the quantitative detection of SEE as compared with subtypes SEA and SEB. Our assay shows a dose-response relationship between IL-2 secretion by Jurkat T-cell line and SEE concentration as low as 1 pg/mL.