Abrin, one of the most highly potent toxins in the world, is derived from the plant, Abrus precatorius
. Because of its high toxicity, it poses potential bioterror risks. Therefore, a need exists for new reagents and technologies that would be able to rapidly detect abrin contamination as well as lead to new therapeutics. We report here a group of abrin-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that recognize abrin A-chain, intact A–B chain toxin, and agglutinin by Western blot. Additionally, these mAbs were evaluated for their ability to serve as capture antibodies for a sandwich (capture) ELISA. All possible capture–detector pairs were evaluated and the best antibody pair identified and optimized for a capture ELISA. The capture ELISA based on this capture–detector mAb pair had a limit of detection (L.O.D) of ≈1 ng/mL measured using three independent experiments. The assay did not reveal any false positives with extracts containing other potential ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs). Thus, this new capture ELISA uses mAbs for both capture and detection; has no cross-reactivity against other plant RIPs; and has a sensitivity comparable to other reported capture ELISAs using polyclonal antibodies as either capture or detector.
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