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Toxins 2017, 9(10), 320; doi:10.3390/toxins9100320

Abrin Toxicity and Bioavailability after Temperature and pH Treatment

Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Services, United States Department of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA
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Academic Editors: Julien Barbier and Daniel Gillet
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 7 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ribosome Inactivating Toxins)
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Abstract

Abrin, one of most potent toxins known to man, is derived from the rosary pea (jequirity pea), Abrus precatorius and is a potential bioterror weapon. The temperature and pH stability of abrin was evaluated with an in vitro cell free translation (CFT) assay, a Vero cell culture cytotoxicity assay, and an in vivo mouse bioassay. pH treatment of abrin had no detrimental effect on its stability and toxicity as seen either in vitro or in vivo. Abrin exposure to increasing temperatures did not completely abrogate protein translation. In both the cell culture cytotoxicity model and the mouse bioassay, abrin’s toxic effects were completely abrogated if the toxin was exposed to temperatures of 74 °C or higher. In the cell culture model, 63 °C-treated abrin had a 30% reduction in cytotoxicity which was validated in the in vivo mouse bioassay with all mice dying but with a slight time-to-death delay as compared to the non-treated abrin control. Since temperature inactivation did not affect abrin’s ability to inhibit protein synthesis (A-chain), we hypothesize that high temperature treatment affected abrin’s ability to bind to cellular receptors (affecting B-chain). Our results confirm the absolute need to validate in vitro cytotoxicity assays with in vivo mouse bioassays. View Full-Text
Keywords: abrin; Abrus precatorius; mouse bioassay; food safety; temperature stability; pH stability abrin; Abrus precatorius; mouse bioassay; food safety; temperature stability; pH stability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tam, C.C.; Henderson, T.D.; Stanker, L.H.; He, X.; Cheng, L.W. Abrin Toxicity and Bioavailability after Temperature and pH Treatment. Toxins 2017, 9, 320.

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