Next Article in Journal
Palladium Nanoparticles-Based Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Aptasensor for Highly Sensitive Detection of Aflatoxin M1 in Milk
Next Article in Special Issue
Production, Characterisation and Testing of an Ovine Antitoxin against Ricin; Efficacy, Potency and Mechanisms of Action
Previous Article in Journal
Anti-Salmonella Activity Modulation of Mastoparan V1—A Wasp Venom Toxin—Using Protease Inhibitors, and Its Efficient Production via an Escherichia coli Secretion System
Previous Article in Special Issue
Shiga Toxins Induce Apoptosis and ER Stress in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells
Article Menu
Issue 10 (October) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Toxins 2017, 9(10), 320;

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
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2080 KB, uploaded 13 October 2017]   |  


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

Graphical abstract

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).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Toxins EISSN 2072-6651 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top