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Sample records for anthrax edema toxin

  1. Transcriptional Stimulation of Anthrax Toxin Receptors by Anthrax Edema Toxin and Bacillus anthracis Sterne Spore

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Qingfu; Hesek, Eric D.; Zeng, Mingtao

    2007-01-01

    We used quantitative real-time RT-PCR to not only investigate the mRNA levels of anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1) and 2 (ANTXR2) in the murine J774A.1 macrophage cells and different tissues of mice, but also evaluate the effect of anthrax edema toxin and Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores on the expression of mRNA of these receptors. The mRNA transcripts of both receptors was detected in J774A.1 cells and mouse tissues such as the lung, heart, kidney, spleen, stomach, jejunum, brain, skeleton muscle, and skin. The ANTXR2 mRNA level was significantly higher than that of ANTXR1 in J774A.1 cells and all tissues examined. The mRNA expression of both receptors in the lung was the highest among the tissues evaluated. Interestingly, the mRNA expression of both receptors in J774A.1 cells was up-regulated by edema toxin. In addition, ANTXR mRNA expression in the lung was down-regulated after subcutaneous inoculation of B. anthracis Sterne spores as well as after intranasal administration of anthrax toxin-based vaccine BioThrax™. These results suggest that anthrax edema toxin and B. anthracis Sterne spore are involved in the ANTXR mRNA regulation in host cells. PMID:17459655

  2. In situ gastrointestinal protection against anthrax edema toxin by single-chain antibody fragment producing lactobacilli

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Anthrax is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and is regarded as one of the most prominent bioterrorism threats. Anthrax toxicity is induced by the tripartite toxin complex, composed of the receptor-binding anthrax protective antigen and the two enzymatic subunits, lethal factor and edema factor. Recombinant lactobacilli have previously been used to deliver antibody fragments directed against surface epitopes of a variety of pathogens, including Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and rotavirus. Here, we addressed whether or not anthrax toxins could be targeted and neutralised in the gastrointestinal tract by lactobacilli producing recombinant antibody fragments as a model system for toxin neutralisation in the gastrointestinal lumen. Results The neutralising anti-PA scFv, 1H, was expressed in L. paracasei as a secreted protein, a cell wall-anchored protein or both secreted and wall-anchored protein. Cell wall display on lactobacilli and PA binding of the anchored constructs was confirmed by flow cytometry analysis. Binding of secreted or attached scFv produced by lactobacilli to PA were verified by ELISA. Both construct were able to protect macrophages in an in vitro cytotoxicity assay. Finally, lactobacilli producing the cell wall attached scFv were able to neutralise the activity of anthrax edema toxin in the GI tract of mice, in vivo. Conclusion We have developed lactobacilli expressing a neutralising scFv fragment against the PA antigen of the anthrax toxin, which can provide protection against anthrax toxins both in vitro and in vivo. Utilising engineered lactobacilli therapeutically for neutralising toxins in the gastrointestinal tract can potential be expanded to provide protection against a range of additional gastrointestinal pathogens. The ability of lactobacilli to colonise the gastrointestinal tract may allow the system to be used both prophylactically and therapeutically. PMID:22185669

  3. The Potential Contributions of Lethal and Edema Toxins to the Pathogenesis of Anthrax Associated Shock

    PubMed Central

    Hicks, Caitlin W.; Cui, Xizhong; Sweeney, Daniel A.; Li, Yan; Barochia, Amisha; Eichacker, Peter Q.

    2011-01-01

    Outbreaks of Bacillus anthracis in the US and Europe over the past 10 years have emphasized the health threat this lethal bacteria poses even for developed parts of the world. In contrast to cutaneous anthrax, inhalational disease in the US during the 2001 outbreaks and the newly identified injectional drug use form of disease in the UK and Germany have been associated with relatively high mortality rates. One notable aspect of these cases has been the difficulty in supporting patients once shock has developed. Anthrax bacilli produce several different components which likely contribute to this shock. Growing evidence indicates that both major anthrax toxins may produce substantial cardiovascular dysfunction. Lethal toxin (LT) can alter peripheral vascular function; it also has direct myocardial depressant effects. Edema toxin (ET) may have even more pronounced peripheral vascular effects than LT, including the ability to interfere with the actions of conventional vasopressors. Additionally, ET also appears capable of interfering with renal sodium and water retention. Importantly, the two toxins exert their actions via quite different mechanisms and therefore have the potential to worsen shock and outcome in an additive fashion. Finally, both toxins have the ability to inhibit host defense and microbial clearance, possibly contributing to the very high bacterial loads noted in patients dying with anthrax. This last point is clinically relevant since emerging data has begun to implicate other bacterial components such as anthrax cell wall in the shock and organ injury observed with infection. Taken together, accumulating evidence regarding the potential contribution of LT and ET to anthrax-associated shock supports efforts to develop adjunctive therapies that target both toxins in patients with progressive shock. PMID:22069762

  4. Noninvasive Imaging Technologies Reveal Edema Toxin as a Key Virulence Factor in Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Dumetz, Fabien; Jouvion, Grégory; Khun, Huot; Glomski, Ian Justin; Corre, Jean-Philippe; Rougeaux, Clémence; Tang, Wei-Jen; Mock, Michèle; Huerre, Michel; Goossens, Pierre Louis

    2011-01-01

    Powerful noninvasive imaging technologies enable real-time tracking of pathogen-host interactions in vivo, giving access to previously elusive events. We visualized the interactions between wild-type Bacillus anthracis and its host during a spore infection through bioluminescence imaging coupled with histology. We show that edema toxin plays a central role in virulence in guinea pigs and during inhalational infection in mice. Edema toxin (ET), but not lethal toxin (LT), markedly modified the patterns of bacterial dissemination leading, to apparent direct dissemination to the spleen and provoking apoptosis of lymphoid cells. Each toxin alone provoked particular histological lesions in the spleen. When ET and LT are produced together during infection, a specific temporal pattern of lesion developed, with early lesions typical of LT, followed at a later stage by lesions typical of ET. Our study provides new insights into the complex spatial and temporal effects of B. anthracis toxins in the infected host, suggesting a greater role than previously suspected for ET in anthrax and suggesting that therapeutic targeting of ET contributes to protection. PMID:21641378

  5. Tumor Targeting and Drug Delivery by Anthrax Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Bachran, Christopher; Leppla, Stephen H.

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is a potent tripartite protein toxin from Bacillus anthracis. It is one of the two virulence factors and causes the disease anthrax. The receptor-binding component of the toxin, protective antigen, needs to be cleaved by furin-like proteases to be activated and to deliver the enzymatic moieties lethal factor and edema factor to the cytosol of cells. Alteration of the protease cleavage site allows the activation of the toxin selectively in response to the presence of tumor-associated proteases. This initial idea of re-targeting anthrax toxin to tumor cells was further elaborated in recent years and resulted in the design of many modifications of anthrax toxin, which resulted in successful tumor therapy in animal models. These modifications include the combination of different toxin variants that require activation by two different tumor-associated proteases for increased specificity of toxin activation. The anthrax toxin system has proved to be a versatile system for drug delivery of several enzymatic moieties into cells. This highly efficient delivery system has recently been further modified by introducing ubiquitin as a cytosolic cleavage site into lethal factor fusion proteins. This review article describes the latest developments in this field of tumor targeting and drug delivery. PMID:27376328

  6. Tumor Targeting and Drug Delivery by Anthrax Toxin.

    PubMed

    Bachran, Christopher; Leppla, Stephen H

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is a potent tripartite protein toxin from Bacillus anthracis. It is one of the two virulence factors and causes the disease anthrax. The receptor-binding component of the toxin, protective antigen, needs to be cleaved by furin-like proteases to be activated and to deliver the enzymatic moieties lethal factor and edema factor to the cytosol of cells. Alteration of the protease cleavage site allows the activation of the toxin selectively in response to the presence of tumor-associated proteases. This initial idea of re-targeting anthrax toxin to tumor cells was further elaborated in recent years and resulted in the design of many modifications of anthrax toxin, which resulted in successful tumor therapy in animal models. These modifications include the combination of different toxin variants that require activation by two different tumor-associated proteases for increased specificity of toxin activation. The anthrax toxin system has proved to be a versatile system for drug delivery of several enzymatic moieties into cells. This highly efficient delivery system has recently been further modified by introducing ubiquitin as a cytosolic cleavage site into lethal factor fusion proteins. This review article describes the latest developments in this field of tumor targeting and drug delivery. PMID:27376328

  7. The Ins and Outs of Anthrax Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Friebe, Sarah; van der Goot, F. Gisou; Bürgi, Jérôme

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax is a severe, although rather rare, infectious disease that is caused by the Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The infectious form is the spore and the major virulence factors of the bacterium are its poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule and the tripartite anthrax toxin. The discovery of the anthrax toxin receptors in the early 2000s has allowed in-depth studies on the mechanisms of anthrax toxin cellular entry and translocation from the endocytic compartment to the cytoplasm. The toxin generally hijacks the endocytic pathway of CMG2 and TEM8, the two anthrax toxin receptors, in order to reach the endosomes. From there, the pore-forming subunit of the toxin inserts into endosomal membranes and enables translocation of the two catalytic subunits. Insertion of the pore-forming unit preferentially occurs in intraluminal vesicles rather than the limiting membrane of the endosome, leading to the translocation of the enzymatic subunits in the lumen of these vesicles. This has important consequences that will be discussed. Ultimately, the toxins reach the cytosol where they act on their respective targets. Target modification has severe consequences on cell behavior, in particular on cells of the immune system, allowing the spread of the bacterium, in severe cases leading to host death. Here we will review the literature on anthrax disease with a focus on the structure of the toxin, how it enters cells and its immunological effects. PMID:26978402

  8. The Ins and Outs of Anthrax Toxin.

    PubMed

    Friebe, Sarah; van der Goot, F Gisou; Bürgi, Jérôme

    2016-03-01

    Anthrax is a severe, although rather rare, infectious disease that is caused by the Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The infectious form is the spore and the major virulence factors of the bacterium are its poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule and the tripartite anthrax toxin. The discovery of the anthrax toxin receptors in the early 2000s has allowed in-depth studies on the mechanisms of anthrax toxin cellular entry and translocation from the endocytic compartment to the cytoplasm. The toxin generally hijacks the endocytic pathway of CMG2 and TEM8, the two anthrax toxin receptors, in order to reach the endosomes. From there, the pore-forming subunit of the toxin inserts into endosomal membranes and enables translocation of the two catalytic subunits. Insertion of the pore-forming unit preferentially occurs in intraluminal vesicles rather than the limiting membrane of the endosome, leading to the translocation of the enzymatic subunits in the lumen of these vesicles. This has important consequences that will be discussed. Ultimately, the toxins reach the cytosol where they act on their respective targets. Target modification has severe consequences on cell behavior, in particular on cells of the immune system, allowing the spread of the bacterium, in severe cases leading to host death. Here we will review the literature on anthrax disease with a focus on the structure of the toxin, how it enters cells and its immunological effects. PMID:26978402

  9. Roles of Anthrax Toxin Receptor 2 in Anthrax Toxin Membrane Insertion and Pore Formation

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Jianjun; Jacquez, Pedro

    2016-01-01

    Interaction between bacterial toxins and cellular surface receptors is an important component of the host-pathogen interaction. Anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) binds to the cell surface receptor, enters the cell through receptor-mediated endocytosis, and forms a pore on the endosomal membrane that translocates toxin enzymes into the cytosol of the host cell. As the major receptor for anthrax toxin in vivo, anthrax toxin receptor 2 (ANTXR2) plays an essential role in anthrax toxin action by providing the toxin with a high-affinity binding anchor on the cell membrane and a path of entry into the host cell. ANTXR2 also acts as a molecular clamp by shifting the pH threshold of PA pore formation to a more acidic pH range, which prevents premature pore formation at neutral pH before the toxin reaches the designated intracellular location. Most recent studies have suggested that the disulfide bond in the immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain of ANTXR2 plays an essential role in anthrax toxin action. Here we will review the roles of ANTXR2 in anthrax toxin action, with an emphasis on newly updated knowledge. PMID:26805886

  10. Roles of Anthrax Toxin Receptor 2 in Anthrax Toxin Membrane Insertion and Pore Formation.

    PubMed

    Sun, Jianjun; Jacquez, Pedro

    2016-02-01

    Interaction between bacterial toxins and cellular surface receptors is an important component of the host-pathogen interaction. Anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) binds to the cell surface receptor, enters the cell through receptor-mediated endocytosis, and forms a pore on the endosomal membrane that translocates toxin enzymes into the cytosol of the host cell. As the major receptor for anthrax toxin in vivo, anthrax toxin receptor 2 (ANTXR2) plays an essential role in anthrax toxin action by providing the toxin with a high-affinity binding anchor on the cell membrane and a path of entry into the host cell. ANTXR2 also acts as a molecular clamp by shifting the pH threshold of PA pore formation to a more acidic pH range, which prevents premature pore formation at neutral pH before the toxin reaches the designated intracellular location. Most recent studies have suggested that the disulfide bond in the immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain of ANTXR2 plays an essential role in anthrax toxin action. Here we will review the roles of ANTXR2 in anthrax toxin action, with an emphasis on newly updated knowledge. PMID:26805886

  11. Anthrax toxin-induced rupture of artificial lipid bilayer membranes.

    PubMed

    Nablo, Brian J; Panchal, Rekha G; Bavari, Sina; Nguyen, Tam L; Gussio, Rick; Ribot, Wil; Friedlander, Art; Chabot, Donald; Reiner, Joseph E; Robertson, Joseph W F; Balijepalli, Arvind; Halverson, Kelly M; Kasianowicz, John J

    2013-08-14

    We demonstrate experimentally that anthrax toxin complexes rupture artificial lipid bilayer membranes when isolated from the blood of infected animals. When the solution pH is temporally acidified to mimic that process in endosomes, recombinant anthrax toxin forms an irreversibly bound complex, which also destabilizes membranes. The results suggest an alternative mechanism for the translocation of anthrax toxin into the cytoplasm. PMID:23947891

  12. Anthrax toxin-induced rupture of artificial lipid bilayer membranes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nablo, Brian J.; Panchal, Rekha G.; Bavari, Sina; Nguyen, Tam L.; Gussio, Rick; Ribot, Wil; Friedlander, Art; Chabot, Donald; Reiner, Joseph E.; Robertson, Joseph W. F.; Balijepalli, Arvind; Halverson, Kelly M.; Kasianowicz, John J.

    2013-08-01

    We demonstrate experimentally that anthrax toxin complexes rupture artificial lipid bilayer membranes when isolated from the blood of infected animals. When the solution pH is temporally acidified to mimic that process in endosomes, recombinant anthrax toxin forms an irreversibly bound complex, which also destabilizes membranes. The results suggest an alternative mechanism for the translocation of anthrax toxin into the cytoplasm.

  13. Quantitative Determination of Lethal Toxin Proteins in Culture Supernatant of Human Live Anthrax Vaccine Bacillus anthracis A16R.

    PubMed

    Zai, Xiaodong; Zhang, Jun; Liu, Ju; Liu, Jie; Li, Liangliang; Yin, Ying; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-03-01

    Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) is the etiological agent of anthrax affecting both humans and animals. Anthrax toxin (AT) plays a major role in pathogenesis. It includes lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET), which are formed by the combination of protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor (LF) or edema factor (EF), respectively. The currently used human anthrax vaccine in China utilizes live-attenuated B. anthracis spores (A16R; pXO1+, pXO2-) that produce anthrax toxin but cannot produce the capsule. Anthrax toxins, especially LT, have key effects on both the immunogenicity and toxicity of human anthrax vaccines. Thus, determining quantities and biological activities of LT proteins expressed by the A16R strain is meaningful. Here, we explored LT expression patterns of the A16R strain in culture conditions using another vaccine strain Sterne as a control. We developed a sandwich ELISA and cytotoxicity-based method for quantitative detection of PA and LF. Expression and degradation of LT proteins were observed in culture supernatants over time. Additionally, LT proteins expressed by the A16R and Sterne strains were found to be monomeric and showed cytotoxic activity, which may be the main reason for side effects of live anthrax vaccines. Our work facilitates the characterization of anthrax vaccines components and establishment of a quality control standard for vaccine production which may ultimately help to ensure the efficacy and safety of the human anthrax vaccine A16R. PMID:26927174

  14. Quantitative Determination of Lethal Toxin Proteins in Culture Supernatant of Human Live Anthrax Vaccine Bacillus anthracis A16R

    PubMed Central

    Zai, Xiaodong; Zhang, Jun; Liu, Ju; Liu, Jie; Li, Liangliang; Yin, Ying; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) is the etiological agent of anthrax affecting both humans and animals. Anthrax toxin (AT) plays a major role in pathogenesis. It includes lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET), which are formed by the combination of protective antigen (PA) and lethal factor (LF) or edema factor (EF), respectively. The currently used human anthrax vaccine in China utilizes live-attenuated B. anthracis spores (A16R; pXO1+, pXO2−) that produce anthrax toxin but cannot produce the capsule. Anthrax toxins, especially LT, have key effects on both the immunogenicity and toxicity of human anthrax vaccines. Thus, determining quantities and biological activities of LT proteins expressed by the A16R strain is meaningful. Here, we explored LT expression patterns of the A16R strain in culture conditions using another vaccine strain Sterne as a control. We developed a sandwich ELISA and cytotoxicity-based method for quantitative detection of PA and LF. Expression and degradation of LT proteins were observed in culture supernatants over time. Additionally, LT proteins expressed by the A16R and Sterne strains were found to be monomeric and showed cytotoxic activity, which may be the main reason for side effects of live anthrax vaccines. Our work facilitates the characterization of anthrax vaccines components and establishment of a quality control standard for vaccine production which may ultimately help to ensure the efficacy and safety of the human anthrax vaccine A16R. PMID:26927174

  15. Molecular Motions as a Drug Target: Mechanistic Simulations of Anthrax Toxin Edema Factor Function Led to the Discovery of Novel Allosteric Inhibitors

    PubMed Central

    Laine, Élodie; Martínez, Leandro; Ladant, Daniel; Malliavin, Thérèse; Blondel, Arnaud

    2012-01-01

    Edema Factor (EF) is a component of Bacillus anthracis toxin essential for virulence. Its adenylyl cyclase activity is induced by complexation with the ubiquitous eukaryotic cellular protein, calmodulin (CaM). EF and its complexes with CaM, nucleotides and/or ions, have been extensively characterized by X-ray crystallography. Those structural data allowed molecular simulations analysis of various aspects of EF action mechanism, including the delineation of EF and CaM domains through their association energetics, the impact of calcium binding on CaM, and the role of catalytic site ions. Furthermore, a transition path connecting the free inactive form to the CaM-complexed active form of EF was built to model the activation mechanism in an attempt to define an inhibition strategy. The cavities at the surface of EF were determined for each path intermediate to identify potential sites where the binding of a ligand could block activation. A non-catalytic cavity (allosteric) was found to shrink rapidly at early stages of the path and was chosen to perform virtual screening. Amongst 18 compounds selected in silico and tested in an enzymatic assay, 6 thiophen ureidoacid derivatives formed a new family of EF allosteric inhibitors with IC50 as low as 2 micromolars. PMID:23012649

  16. Novel inhibitors of Anthrax edema factor

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Deliang; Misra, Milind; Sower, Laurie; Peterson, Johnny W.; Kellogg, Glen E.; Schein, Catherine H.

    2008-01-01

    Several pathogenic bacteria produce adenylyl cyclase toxins, such as the edema factor (EF) of Bacillus anthracis. These disturb cellular metabolism by catalyzing production of excessive amounts of the regulatory molecule cAMP. Here, a structure-based method, where a 3D- pharmacophore that fit the active site of EF was constructed from fragments, was used to identify non-nucleotide inhibitors of EF. A library of small molecule fragments was docked to the EF- active site in existing crystal structures and those with the highest HINT scores were assembled into a 3D-pharmacophore. About 10,000 compounds, from over 2.7 million compounds in the ZINC database, had a similar molecular framework. These were ranked according to their docking scores, using methodology that was shown to achieve maximum accuracy (i.e., how well the docked position matched the experimentally determined site for ATP analogues in crystal structures of the complex). Finally, 19 diverse compounds with the best AutoDock binding/docking scores were assayed in a cell based assay for their ability to reduce cAMP secretion induced by EF. Four of the test compounds, from different structural groups, inhibited in the low micromolar range. One of these has a core structure common to phosphatase inhibitors previously identified by high-throughput assays of a diversity library. Thus, the fragment based pharmacophore identified a small number of diverse compounds for assay, and greatly enhanced the selection process of advanced lead compounds for combinatorial design. PMID:18620864

  17. Ratcheting up protein translocation with anthrax toxin

    PubMed Central

    Feld, Geoffrey K; Brown, Michael J; Krantz, Bryan A

    2012-01-01

    Energy-consuming nanomachines catalyze the directed movement of biopolymers in the cell. They are found both dissolved in the aqueous cytosol as well as embedded in lipid bilayers. Inquiries into the molecular mechanism of nanomachine-catalyzed biopolymer transport have revealed that these machines are equipped with molecular parts, including adjustable clamps, levers, and adaptors, which interact favorably with substrate polypeptides. Biological nanomachines that catalyze protein transport, known as translocases, often require that their substrate proteins unfold before translocation. An unstructured protein chain is likely entropically challenging to bind, push, or pull in a directional manner, especially in a way that produces an unfolding force. A number of ingenious solutions to this problem are now evident in the anthrax toxin system, a model used to study protein translocation. Here we highlight molecular ratchets and current research on anthrax toxin translocation. A picture is emerging of proton-gradient-driven anthrax toxin translocation, and its associated ratchet mechanism likely applies broadly to other systems. We suggest a cyclical thermodynamic order-to-disorder mechanism (akin to a heat-engine cycle) is central to underlying protein translocation: peptide substrates nonspecifically bind to molecular clamps, which possess adjustable affinities; polypeptide substrates compress into helical structures; these clamps undergo proton-gated switching; and the substrate subsequently expands regaining its unfolded state conformational entropy upon translocation. PMID:22374876

  18. New insights into the biological effects of anthrax toxins: linking cellular to organismal responses

    PubMed Central

    Guichard, Annabel; Nizet, Victor; Bier, Ethan

    2013-01-01

    The anthrax toxins lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET), are essential virulence factors produced by B. anthracis. These toxins act during two distinct phases of anthrax infection. During the first, prodromal phase, which is often asymptomatic, anthrax toxins act on cells of the immune system to help the pathogen establish infection. Then, during the rapidly progressing (or fulminant) stage of the disease bacteria disseminate via a hematological route to various target tissues and organs, which are typically highly vascularized. As bacteria proliferate in the bloodstream LT and ET begin to accumulate rapidly reaching a critical threshold level that will cause death even when the bacterial proliferation is curtailed by antibiotics. During this final phase of infection the toxins cause an increase in vascular permeability and a decrease in function of target organs including the heart, spleen, kidney, adrenal gland, and brain. In this review, we examine the various biological effects of anthrax toxins, focusing on the fulminant stage of the disease and on mechanisms by which the two toxins may collaborate to cause cardiovascular collapse. We discuss normal mechanisms involved in maintaining vascular integrity and based on recent studies indicating that LT and ET cooperatively inhibit membrane trafficking to cell-cell junctions we explore several potential mechanisms by which the toxins may achieve their lethal effects. We also summarize the effects of other potential virulence factors secreted by B. anthracis and consider the role of toxic factors in the evolutionarily recent emergence of this devastating disease. PMID:21930233

  19. Atomic structure of anthrax PA pore elucidates toxin translocation

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Jiansen; Pentelute, Bradley L.; Collier, R. John; Zhou, Z. Hong

    2015-01-01

    Summary Anthrax toxin, comprising protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF), is the major virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, an agent that causes high mortality in human and animals. PA forms oligomeric prepores that undergo conversion to membrane-spanning pores by endosomal acidification, and these pores translocate the enzymes LF and EF into the cytosol of target cells1. PA is not only a vaccine component and therapeutic target for anthrax infections but also an excellent model system for understanding the mechanism of protein translocation. Based on biochemical and electrophysiological results, researchers have proposed that a Φ-clamp composed of Phe427 residues of PA catalyzes protein translocation via a charge-state dependent Brownian ratchet2–9. Although atomic structures of PA prepores are available10–14, how PA senses low pH, converts to active pore and translocates LF and EF are not well defined without an atomic model of the PA pore. Here, by cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) with direct electron counting, we have determined the PA pore structure at 2.9-Å resolution. The structure reveals the long-sought-after catalytic Φ-clamp and the membrane-spanning translocation channel, and supports the Brownian ratchet model for protein translocation. Comparisons of four structures reveal conformational changes in prepore to pore conversion that support a multi-step mechanism by which low-pH is sensed and the membrane-spanning channel is formed. PMID:25778700

  20. In vivo dynamics of active edema and lethal factors during anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Rougeaux, Clémence; Becher, François; Ezan, Eric; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas; Goossens, Pierre L.

    2016-01-01

    Lethal and edema toxins are critical virulence factors of Bacillus anthracis. However, little is known about their in vivo dynamics of production during anthrax. In this study, we unraveled for the first time the in vivo kinetics of production of the toxin components EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor) during cutaneous infection with a wild-type toxinogenic encapsulated strain in immuno-competent mice. We stratified the asynchronous infection process into defined stages through bioluminescence imaging (BLI), while exploiting sensitive quantitative methods by measuring the enzymatic activity of LF and EF. LF was produced in high amounts, while EF amounts steadily increased during the infectious process. This led to high LF/EF ratios throughout the infection, with variations between 50 to a few thousands. In the bloodstream, the early detection of active LF and EF despite the absence of bacteria suggests that they may exert long distance effects. Infection with a strain deficient in the protective antigen toxin component enabled to address its role in the diffusion of LF and EF within the host. Our data provide a picture of the in vivo complexity of the infectious process. PMID:26996161

  1. In vivo dynamics of active edema and lethal factors during anthrax.

    PubMed

    Rougeaux, Clémence; Becher, François; Ezan, Eric; Tournier, Jean-Nicolas; Goossens, Pierre L

    2016-01-01

    Lethal and edema toxins are critical virulence factors of Bacillus anthracis. However, little is known about their in vivo dynamics of production during anthrax. In this study, we unraveled for the first time the in vivo kinetics of production of the toxin components EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor) during cutaneous infection with a wild-type toxinogenic encapsulated strain in immuno-competent mice. We stratified the asynchronous infection process into defined stages through bioluminescence imaging (BLI), while exploiting sensitive quantitative methods by measuring the enzymatic activity of LF and EF. LF was produced in high amounts, while EF amounts steadily increased during the infectious process. This led to high LF/EF ratios throughout the infection, with variations between 50 to a few thousands. In the bloodstream, the early detection of active LF and EF despite the absence of bacteria suggests that they may exert long distance effects. Infection with a strain deficient in the protective antigen toxin component enabled to address its role in the diffusion of LF and EF within the host. Our data provide a picture of the in vivo complexity of the infectious process. PMID:26996161

  2. Anthrax Edema Factor Toxicity Is Strongly Mediated by the N-end Rule

    PubMed Central

    Leysath, Clinton E.; Phillips, Damilola D.; Crown, Devorah; Fattah, Rasem J.; Moayeri, Mahtab; Leppla, Stephen H.

    2013-01-01

    Anthrax edema factor (EF) is a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase that converts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into 3’–5’-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), contributing to the establishment of Bacillus anthracis infections and the resulting pathophysiology. We show that EF adenylate cyclase toxin activity is strongly mediated by the N-end rule, and thus is dependent on the identity of the N-terminal amino acid. EF variants having different N-terminal residues varied by more than 100-fold in potency in cultured cells and mice. EF variants having unfavorable, destabilizing N-terminal residues showed much greater activity in cells when the E1 ubiquitin ligase was inactivated or when proteasome inhibitors were present. Taken together, these results show that EF is uniquely affected by ubiquitination and/or proteasomal degradation. PMID:24015319

  3. Revisiting the Concept of Targeting Only Bacillus anthracis Toxins as a Treatment for Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Glinert, Itai; Bar-David, Elad; Sittner, Assa; Weiss, Shay; Schlomovitz, Josef; Ben-Shmuel, Amir; Mechaly, Adva; Altboum, Zeev; Kobiler, David; Levy, Haim

    2016-08-01

    Protective antigen (PA)-based vaccines are effective in preventing the development of fatal anthrax disease both in humans and in relevant animal models. The Bacillus anthracis toxins lethal toxin (lethal factor [LF] plus PA) and edema toxin (edema factor [EF] plus PA) are essential for the establishment of the infection, as inactivation of these toxins results in attenuation of the pathogen. Since the toxins reach high toxemia levels at the bacteremic stages of the disease, the CDC's recommendations include combining antibiotic treatment with antitoxin (anti-PA) immunotherapy. We demonstrate here that while treatment with a highly potent neutralizing monoclonal antibody was highly efficient as postexposure prophylaxis treatment, it failed to protect rabbits with any detectable bacteremia (≥10 CFU/ml). In addition, we show that while PA vaccination was effective against a subcutaneous spore challenge, it failed to protect rabbits against systemic challenges (intravenous injection of vegetative bacteria) with the wild-type Vollum strain or a toxin-deficient mutant. To test the possibility that additional proteins, which are secreted by the bacteria under pathogenicity-stimulating conditions in vitro, may contribute to the vaccine's potency, we immunized rabbits with a secreted protein fraction from a toxin-null mutant. The antiserum raised against the secreted fraction reacts with the bacteria in an immunofluorescence assay. Immunization with the secreted protein fraction did not protect the rabbits against a systemic challenge with the fully pathogenic bacteria. Full protection was obtained only by a combined vaccination with PA and the secreted protein fraction. Therefore, these results indicate that an effective antiserum treatment in advanced stages of anthrax must include toxin-neutralizing antibodies in combination with antibodies against bacterial cell targets. PMID:27270276

  4. Identification of the cellular receptor for anthrax toxin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradley, Kenneth A.; Mogridge, Jeremy; Mourez, Michael; Collier, R. John; Young, John A. T.

    2001-11-01

    The tripartite toxin secreted by Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, helps the bacterium evade the immune system and can kill the host during a systemic infection. Two components of the toxin enzymatically modify substrates within the cytosol of mammalian cells: oedema factor (OF) is an adenylate cyclase that impairs host defences through a variety of mechanisms including inhibiting phagocytosis; lethal factor (LF) is a zinc-dependent protease that cleaves mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase and causes lysis of macrophages. Protective antigen (PA), the third component, binds to a cellular receptor and mediates delivery of the enzymatic components to the cytosol. Here we describe the cloning of the human PA receptor using a genetic complementation approach. The receptor, termed ATR (anthrax toxin receptor), is a type I membrane protein with an extracellular von Willebrand factor A domain that binds directly to PA. In addition, a soluble version of this domain can protect cells from the action of the toxin.

  5. Crystallographic studies of the Anthrax lethal toxin. Annual report

    SciTech Connect

    Frederick, C.A.

    1996-07-01

    The lethal form of Anthrax results from the inhalation of anthrax spores. Death is primarily due to the effects of the lethal toxin (Protective Antigen (PA) + Lethal Factor) from the causative agent, Bacillus anthracis. All the Anthrax vaccines currently in use or under development contain or produce PA, the major antigenic component of anthrax toxin, and there is a clear need for an improved vaccine for human use. In the previous report we described the first atomic resolution structure of PA, revealing that the molecule is composed largely of beta-sheets organized into four domains. This information can be used in the design. of recombinant PA vaccines. In this report we describe additional features of the full-length PA molecule derived from further crystallographic refinement and careful examination of the structure. We compare two crystal forms of PA grown at different pH values and discuss the functional implications. A complete definition of the function of each domain must await the crystal structure of the PA63 heptamer. We have grown crystals of the heptamer under both detergent and detergent-free conditions, and made substantial progress towards the crystal structure. The mechanism of anthrax intoxication in the light of our results is reviewed.

  6. T cell targeting by anthrax toxins: two faces of the same coin.

    PubMed

    Paccani, Silvia Rossi; Baldari, Cosima T

    2011-06-01

    Bacillus anthracis, similar to other bacterial pathogens, has evolved effective immune evasion strategies to prolong its survival in the host, thus ensuring the unchecked spread of the infection. This function is subserved by lethal (LT) and edema (ET) toxins, two exotoxins produced by vegetative anthrax bacilli following germination of the spores. The structure of these toxins and the mechanism of cell intoxication are topics covered by other reviews in this issue. Here we shall discuss how B. anthracis uses LT and ET to suppress the immune defenses of the host, focusing on T lymphocytes, the key players in adaptive immunity. We shall also summarize recent findings showing that, depending on its concentration, ET has the ability not only to suppress T cell activation but also to promote the polarization of CD4(+) T cells to the Th2 and Th17 subsets, highlighting the potential use of this toxin as an immunomodulator. PMID:22069732

  7. Anthrax lethal toxin disrupts the endothelial permeability barrier through blocking p38 signaling.

    PubMed

    Liu, Tiegang; Milia, Erica; Warburton, Rod R; Hill, Nicholas S; Gaestel, Matthias; Kayyali, Usamah S

    2012-04-01

    Exposure to anthrax causes life-threatening disease through the action of the toxin produced by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Lethal factor (LF), an anthrax toxin component which causes severe vascular leak and edema, is a protease which specifically degrades MAP kinase kinases (MKK). We have recently shown that p38 MAP kinase activation leading to HSP27 phosphorylation augments the endothelial permeability barrier. We now show that treatment of rat pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells with anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx), which is composed of LF and the protective antigen, increases endothelial barrier permeability and gap formation between endothelial cells through disrupting p38 signaling. LeTx treatment increases MKK3b degradation and in turn decreases p38 activity at baseline as well as after activation of p38 signaling. Consequently, LeTx treatment decreases activation of the p38 substrate kinase, MK2, and the phosphorylation of the latter's substrate, HSP27. LeTx treatment disrupts other signaling pathways leading to suppression of Erk-mediated signaling, but these effects do not correlate with LeTx-induced barrier compromise. Overexpressing phosphomimicking (pm)HSP27, which protects the endothelial permeability barrier against LeTx, blocks LeTx inactivation of p38 and MK2, but it does not block MKK3b degradation or Erk inactivation. Our results suggest that LeTx might cause vascular leak through inactivating p38-MK2-HSP27 signaling and that activating HSP27 phosphorylation specifically restores p38 signaling and blocks anthrax LeTx toxicity. The fact that barrier integrity could be restored by pmHSP27 overexpression without affecting degradation of MKK3b, or inactivation of Erk, suggests a specific and central role for p38-MK2-HSP27 in endothelial barrier permeability regulation. PMID:21618534

  8. Polyvalent Recognition of Biopolymers:The Design of Potent Inhibitors of Anthrax Toxin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kane, Ravi

    2007-03-01

    Polyvalency -- the simultaneous binding of multiple ligands on one entity to multiple receptors on another -- is a phenomenon that is ubiquitous in nature. We are using a biomimetic approach, inspired by polyvalency, to design potent inhibitors of anthrax toxin. Since the major symptoms and death from anthrax are due primarily to the action of anthrax toxin, the toxin is a prime target for therapeutic intervention. We describe the design of potent polyvalent anthrax toxin inhibitors, and will discuss the role of pattern matching in polyvalent recognition. Pattern-matched polyvalent inhibitors can neutralize anthrax toxin in vivo, and may enable the successful treatment of anthrax during the later stages of the disease, when antibiotic treatment is ineffective.

  9. Anthrax Pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Moayeri, Mahtab; Leppla, Stephen H; Vrentas, Catherine; Pomerantsev, Andrei P; Liu, Shihui

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming, gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The bacterium's major virulence factors are (a) the anthrax toxins and (b) an antiphagocytic polyglutamic capsule. These are encoded by two large plasmids, the former by pXO1 and the latter by pXO2. The expression of both is controlled by the bicarbonate-responsive transcriptional regulator, AtxA. The anthrax toxins are three polypeptides-protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF)-that come together in binary combinations to form lethal toxin and edema toxin. PA binds to cellular receptors to translocate LF (a protease) and EF (an adenylate cyclase) into cells. The toxins alter cell signaling pathways in the host to interfere with innate immune responses in early stages of infection and to induce vascular collapse at late stages. This review focuses on the role of anthrax toxins in pathogenesis. Other virulence determinants, as well as vaccines and therapeutics, are briefly discussed. PMID:26195305

  10. Peptide- and proton-driven allosteric clamps catalyze anthrax toxin translocation across membranes

    PubMed Central

    Das, Debasis; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is an intracellularly acting toxin in which sufficient information is available regarding the structure of its transmembrane channel, allowing for detailed investigation of models of translocation. Anthrax toxin, comprising three proteins—protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor—translocates large proteins across membranes. Here we show that the PA translocase channel has a transport function in which its catalytic active sites operate allosterically. We find that the phenylalanine clamp (ϕ-clamp), the known conductance bottleneck in the PA translocase, gates as either a more closed state or a more dilated state. Thermodynamically, the two channel states have >300-fold different binding affinities for an LF-derived peptide. The change in clamp thermodynamics requires distant α-clamp and ϕ-clamp sites. Clamp allostery and translocation are more optimal for LF peptides with uniform stereochemistry, where the least allosteric and least efficiently translocated peptide had a mixed stereochemistry. Overall, the kinetic results are in less agreement with an extended-chain Brownian ratchet model but, instead, are more consistent with an allosteric helix-compression model that is dependent also on substrate peptide coil-to-helix/helix-to-coil cooperativity. PMID:27506790

  11. Peptide- and proton-driven allosteric clamps catalyze anthrax toxin translocation across membranes.

    PubMed

    Das, Debasis; Krantz, Bryan A

    2016-08-23

    Anthrax toxin is an intracellularly acting toxin in which sufficient information is available regarding the structure of its transmembrane channel, allowing for detailed investigation of models of translocation. Anthrax toxin, comprising three proteins-protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor-translocates large proteins across membranes. Here we show that the PA translocase channel has a transport function in which its catalytic active sites operate allosterically. We find that the phenylalanine clamp (ϕ-clamp), the known conductance bottleneck in the PA translocase, gates as either a more closed state or a more dilated state. Thermodynamically, the two channel states have >300-fold different binding affinities for an LF-derived peptide. The change in clamp thermodynamics requires distant α-clamp and ϕ-clamp sites. Clamp allostery and translocation are more optimal for LF peptides with uniform stereochemistry, where the least allosteric and least efficiently translocated peptide had a mixed stereochemistry. Overall, the kinetic results are in less agreement with an extended-chain Brownian ratchet model but, instead, are more consistent with an allosteric helix-compression model that is dependent also on substrate peptide coil-to-helix/helix-to-coil cooperativity. PMID:27506790

  12. Anthrax Toxin-Expressing Bacillus cereus Isolated from an Anthrax-Like Eschar.

    PubMed

    Marston, Chung K; Ibrahim, Hisham; Lee, Philip; Churchwell, George; Gumke, Megan; Stanek, Danielle; Gee, Jay E; Boyer, Anne E; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R; Li, Han; Boulay, Darbi; Cronin, Li; Quinn, Conrad P; Hoffmaster, Alex R

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus cereus isolates have been described harboring Bacillus anthracis toxin genes, most notably B. cereus G9241, and capable of causing severe and fatal pneumonias. This report describes the characterization of a B. cereus isolate, BcFL2013, associated with a naturally occurring cutaneous lesion resembling an anthrax eschar. Similar to G9241, BcFL2013 is positive for the B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes, has a multi-locus sequence type of 78, and a pagA sequence type of 9. Whole genome sequencing confirms the similarity to G9241. In addition to the chromosome having an average nucleotide identity of 99.98% when compared to G9241, BcFL2013 harbors three plasmids with varying homology to the G9241 plasmids (pBCXO1, pBC210 and pBFH_1). This is also the first report to include serologic testing of patient specimens associated with this type of B. cereus infection which resulted in the detection of anthrax lethal factor toxemia, a quantifiable serum antibody response to protective antigen (PA), and lethal toxin neutralization activity. PMID:27257909

  13. Anthrax Toxin-Expressing Bacillus cereus Isolated from an Anthrax-Like Eschar

    PubMed Central

    Marston, Chung K.; Ibrahim, Hisham; Lee, Philip; Churchwell, George; Gumke, Megan; Stanek, Danielle; Gee, Jay E.; Boyer, Anne E.; Gallegos-Candela, Maribel; Barr, John R.; Li, Han; Boulay, Darbi; Cronin, Li; Quinn, Conrad P.; Hoffmaster, Alex R.

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus cereus isolates have been described harboring Bacillus anthracis toxin genes, most notably B. cereus G9241, and capable of causing severe and fatal pneumonias. This report describes the characterization of a B. cereus isolate, BcFL2013, associated with a naturally occurring cutaneous lesion resembling an anthrax eschar. Similar to G9241, BcFL2013 is positive for the B. anthracis pXO1 toxin genes, has a multi-locus sequence type of 78, and a pagA sequence type of 9. Whole genome sequencing confirms the similarity to G9241. In addition to the chromosome having an average nucleotide identity of 99.98% when compared to G9241, BcFL2013 harbors three plasmids with varying homology to the G9241 plasmids (pBCXO1, pBC210 and pBFH_1). This is also the first report to include serologic testing of patient specimens associated with this type of B. cereus infection which resulted in the detection of anthrax lethal factor toxemia, a quantifiable serum antibody response to protective antigen (PA), and lethal toxin neutralization activity. PMID:27257909

  14. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    Woolsorter's disease; Ragpicker's disease; Cutaneous anthrax; Gastrointestinal anthrax ... Anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle, and goats. Humans who come into contact with ...

  15. Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin Causes Extensive Tissue Lesions and Rapid Lethality in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Firoved, Aaron M.; Miller, Georgina F.; Moayeri, Mahtab; Kakkar, Rahul; Shen, Yuequan; Wiggins, Jason F.; McNally, Elizabeth M.; Tang, Wei-Jen; Leppla, Stephen H.

    2005-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis edema toxin (ET), an adenylyl cyclase, is an important virulence factor that contributes to anthrax disease. The role of ET in anthrax pathogenesis is, however, poorly understood. Previous studies using crude toxin preparations associated ET with subcutaneous edema, and ET-deficient strains of B. anthracis showed a reduction in virulence. We report the first comprehensive study of ET-induced pathology in an animal model. Highly purified ET caused death in BALB/cJ mice at lower doses and more rapidly than previously seen with the other major B. anthracis virulence factor, lethal toxin. Observations of gross pathology showed intestinal intralumenal fluid accumulation followed by focal hemorrhaging of the ileum and adrenal glands. Histopathological analyses of timed tissue harvests revealed lesions in several tissues including adrenal glands, lymphoid organs, bone, bone marrow, gastrointestinal mucosa, heart, and kidneys. Concomitant blood chemistry analyses supported the induction of tissue damage. Several cytokines increased after ET administration, including granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, eotaxin, keratinocyte-derived cytokine, MCP-1/JE, interleukin-6, interleukin-10, and interleukin-1β. Physiological measurements also revealed a concurrent hypotension and bradycardia. These studies detail the extensive pathological lesions caused by ET and suggest that it causes death due to multiorgan failure. PMID:16251415

  16. Anthrax Toxins in Context of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Spore Germination

    PubMed Central

    Cote, Christopher K.; Welkos, Susan L.

    2015-01-01

    The interaction of anthrax toxin or toxin components with B. anthracis spores has been demonstrated. Germinating spores can produce significant amounts of toxin components very soon after the initiation of germination. In this review, we will summarize the work performed that has led to our understanding of toxin and spore interactions and discuss the complexities associated with these interactions. PMID:26287244

  17. Synthesis of potent inhibitors of anthrax toxin based on poly-L-glutamic acid.

    PubMed

    Joshi, Amit; Saraph, Arundhati; Poon, Vincent; Mogridge, Jeremy; Kane, Ravi S

    2006-01-01

    We report the synthesis of biodegradable polyvalent inhibitors of anthrax toxin based on poly-L-glutamic acid (PLGA). These biocompatible polyvalent inhibitors are at least 4 orders of magnitude more potent than the corresponding monovalent peptides in vitro and are comparable in potency to polyacrylamide-based inhibitors of anthrax toxin assembly. We have elucidated the influence of peptide density on inhibitory potency and demonstrated that these inhibitory potencies are limited by kinetics, with even higher activities seen when the inhibitors are preincubated with the heptameric receptor-binding subunit of anthrax toxin prior to exposure to cells. These polyvalent inhibitors are also effective at neutralizing anthrax toxin in vivo and represent attractive leads for designing biocompatible anthrax therapeutics. PMID:16984137

  18. Ion selectivity of the anthrax toxin channel and its effect on protein translocation

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Damon; Finkelstein, Alan

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax toxin consists of three ∼85-kD proteins: lethal factor (LF), edema factor (EF), and protective antigen (PA). PA63 (the 63-kD, C-terminal portion of PA) forms heptameric channels ((PA63)7) in planar phospholipid bilayer membranes that enable the translocation of LF and EF across the membrane. These mushroom-shaped channels consist of a globular cap domain and a 14-stranded β-barrel stem domain, with six anionic residues lining the interior of the stem to form rings of negative charges. (PA63)7 channels are highly cation selective, and, here, we investigate the effects on both cation selectivity and protein translocation of mutating each of these anionic residues to a serine. We find that although some of these mutations reduce cation selectivity, selectivity alone does not directly predict the rate of protein translocation; local changes in electrostatic forces must be considered as well. PMID:26170174

  19. Recombinant HSA-CMG2 Is a Promising Anthrax Toxin Inhibitor.

    PubMed

    Li, Liangliang; Guo, Qiang; Liu, Ju; Zhang, Jun; Yin, Ying; Dong, Dayong; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is the major virulence factor produced by Bacillus anthracis. Protective antigen (PA) is the key component of the toxin and has been confirmed as the main target for the development of toxin inhibitors. The inhibition of the binding of PA to its receptor, capillary morphogenesis protein-2 (CMG2), can effectively block anthrax intoxication. The recombinant, soluble von Willebrand factor type A (vWA) domain of CMG2 (sCMG2) has demonstrated potency against anthrax toxin. However, the short half-life of sCMG2 in vivo is a disadvantage for its development as a new anthrax drug. In the present study, we report that HSA-CMG2, a protein combining human serum albumin (HSA) and sCMG2, produced in the Pichia pastoris expression system prolonged the half-life of sCMG2 while maintaining PA binding ability. The IC50 of HSA-CMG2 is similar to those of sCMG2 and CMG2-Fc in in vitro toxin neutralization assays, and HSA-CMG2 completely protects rats from lethal doses of anthrax toxin challenge; these same challenge doses exceed sCMG2 at a sub-equivalent dose ratio and overwhelm CMG2-Fc. Our results suggest that HSA-CMG2 is a promising inhibitor of anthrax toxin and may contribute to the development of novel anthrax drugs. PMID:26805881

  20. Recombinant HSA-CMG2 Is a Promising Anthrax Toxin Inhibitor

    PubMed Central

    Li, Liangliang; Guo, Qiang; Liu, Ju; Zhang, Jun; Yin, Ying; Dong, Dayong; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is the major virulence factor produced by Bacillus anthracis. Protective antigen (PA) is the key component of the toxin and has been confirmed as the main target for the development of toxin inhibitors. The inhibition of the binding of PA to its receptor, capillary morphogenesis protein-2 (CMG2), can effectively block anthrax intoxication. The recombinant, soluble von Willebrand factor type A (vWA) domain of CMG2 (sCMG2) has demonstrated potency against anthrax toxin. However, the short half-life of sCMG2 in vivo is a disadvantage for its development as a new anthrax drug. In the present study, we report that HSA-CMG2, a protein combining human serum albumin (HSA) and sCMG2, produced in the Pichia pastoris expression system prolonged the half-life of sCMG2 while maintaining PA binding ability. The IC50 of HSA-CMG2 is similar to those of sCMG2 and CMG2-Fc in in vitro toxin neutralization assays, and HSA-CMG2 completely protects rats from lethal doses of anthrax toxin challenge; these same challenge doses exceed sCMG2 at a sub-equivalent dose ratio and overwhelm CMG2-Fc. Our results suggest that HSA-CMG2 is a promising inhibitor of anthrax toxin and may contribute to the development of novel anthrax drugs. PMID:26805881

  1. Electrostatic Ratchet in the Protective Antigen Channel Promotes Anthrax Toxin Translocation*

    PubMed Central

    Wynia-Smith, Sarah L.; Brown, Michael J.; Chirichella, Gina; Kemalyan, Gigi; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2012-01-01

    Central to the power-stroke and Brownian-ratchet mechanisms of protein translocation is the process through which nonequilibrium fluctuations are rectified or ratcheted by the molecular motor to transport substrate proteins along a specific axis. We investigated the ratchet mechanism using anthrax toxin as a model. Anthrax toxin is a tripartite toxin comprised of the protective antigen (PA) component, a homooligomeric transmembrane translocase, which translocates two other enzyme components, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF), into the cytosol of the host cell under the proton motive force (PMF). The PA-binding domains of LF and EF (LFN and EFN) possess identical folds and similar solution stabilities; however, EFN translocates ∼10–200-fold slower than LFN, depending on the electrical potential (Δψ) and chemical potential (ΔpH) compositions of the PMF. From an analysis of LFN/EFN chimera proteins, we identified two 10-residue cassettes comprised of charged sequence that were responsible for the impaired translocation kinetics of EFN. These cassettes have nonspecific electrostatic requirements: one surprisingly prefers acidic residues when driven by either a Δψ or a ΔpH; the second requires basic residues only when driven by a Δψ. Through modeling and experiment, we identified a charged surface in the PA channel responsible for charge selectivity. The charged surface latches the substrate and promotes PMF-driven transport. We propose an electrostatic ratchet in the channel, comprised of opposing rings of charged residues, enforces directionality by interacting with charged cassettes in the substrate, thereby generating forces sufficient to drive unfolding. PMID:23115233

  2. Role of the protective antigen octamer in the molecular mechanism of anthrax lethal toxin stabilization in plasma

    PubMed Central

    Kintzer, Alexander F.; Sterling, Harry J.; Tang, Iok I.; Abdul-Gader, Ali; Miles, Andrew J.; Wallace, B. A.; Williams, Evan R.; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2010-01-01

    Anthrax is caused by strains of Bacillus anthracis that produce two key virulence factors, anthrax toxin (Atx) and a poly-γ-D-glutamic acid capsule. Atx is comprised of three-proteins: protective antigen (PA) and two enzymes, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF). To disrupt cell function, these components must assemble into holotoxin complexes, which contain either a ring-shaped homooctameric or homoheptameric PA oligomer bound to multiple copies of either LF and/or EF, producing lethal toxin (LT), edema toxin, or mixtures thereof. Once a host cell endocytoses these complexes, PA converts into a membrane-inserted channel that translocates LF and EF into the cytosol. LT may assemble on host cell surfaces or extracellularly in plasma. We show that under physiological conditions in bovine plasma that LT complexes containing heptameric PA aggregate and inactivate more readily than LT complexes containing octameric PA. LT complexes containing octameric PA possess enhanced stability, channel forming activity, and macrophage cytotoxicity relative to those containing heptameric PA. Under physiological conditions, multiple biophysical probes reveal that heptameric PA can prematurely adopt the channel conformation, but octameric PA complexes remain in their soluble prechannel configuration allowing them to resist aggregation and inactivation. We conclude that PA may form an octameric oligomeric state as a means to produce a more stable and active LT complex that may circulate freely in the blood. PMID:20433851

  3. Atomic structure of anthrax protective antigen pore elucidates toxin translocation.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Jiansen; Pentelute, Bradley L; Collier, R John; Zhou, Z Hong

    2015-05-28

    Anthrax toxin, comprising protective antigen, lethal factor, and oedema factor, is the major virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, an agent that causes high mortality in humans and animals. Protective antigen forms oligomeric prepores that undergo conversion to membrane-spanning pores by endosomal acidification, and these pores translocate the enzymes lethal factor and oedema factor into the cytosol of target cells. Protective antigen is not only a vaccine component and therapeutic target for anthrax infections but also an excellent model system for understanding the mechanism of protein translocation. On the basis of biochemical and electrophysiological results, researchers have proposed that a phi (Φ)-clamp composed of phenylalanine (Phe)427 residues of protective antigen catalyses protein translocation via a charge-state-dependent Brownian ratchet. Although atomic structures of protective antigen prepores are available, how protective antigen senses low pH, converts to active pore, and translocates lethal factor and oedema factor are not well defined without an atomic model of its pore. Here, by cryo-electron microscopy with direct electron counting, we determine the protective antigen pore structure at 2.9-Å resolution. The structure reveals the long-sought-after catalytic Φ-clamp and the membrane-spanning translocation channel, and supports the Brownian ratchet model for protein translocation. Comparisons of four structures reveal conformational changes in prepore to pore conversion that support a multi-step mechanism by which low pH is sensed and the membrane-spanning channel is formed. PMID:25778700

  4. Peptide Probes Reveal a Hydrophobic Steric Ratchet in the Anthrax Toxin Protective Antigen Translocase.

    PubMed

    Colby, Jennifer M; Krantz, Bryan A

    2015-11-01

    Anthrax toxin is a tripartite virulence factor produced by Bacillus anthracis during infection. Under acidic endosomal pH conditions, the toxin's protective antigen (PA) component forms a transmembrane channel in host cells. The PA channel then translocates its two enzyme components, lethal factor and edema factor, into the host cytosol under the proton motive force. Protein translocation under a proton motive force is catalyzed by a series of nonspecific polypeptide binding sites, called clamps. A 10-residue guest/host peptide model system, KKKKKXXSXX, was used to functionally probe polypeptide-clamp interactions within wild-type PA channels. The guest residues were Thr, Ala, Leu, Phe, Tyr, and Trp. In steady-state translocation experiments, the channel blocked most tightly with peptides that had increasing amounts of nonpolar surface area. Cooperative peptide binding was observed in the Trp-containing peptide sequence but not the other tested sequences. Trp substitutions into a flexible, uncharged linker between the lethal factor amino-terminal domain and diphtheria toxin A chain expedited translocation. Therefore, peptide-clamp sites in translocase channels can sense large steric features (like tryptophan) in peptides, and while these steric interactions may make a peptide translocate poorly, in the context of folded domains, they can make the protein translocate more rapidly presumably via a hydrophobic steric ratchet mechanism. PMID:26363343

  5. The medicinal chemistry of botulinum, ricin and anthrax toxins.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Rickey P; Hartell, Mark G; Nichols, Daniel A; Bhattacharjee, Apurba K; van Hamont, John E; Skillman, Donald R

    2005-01-01

    The potential use of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological or chemical) by terrorist organizations represents a major threat to world peace and safety. Only a limited number of vaccines are available to protect the general population from the medical consequences of these weapons. In addition there are major health concerns associated with a pre-exposure mass vaccination of the general population. To reduce or eliminate the impact of these terrible threats, new drugs must be developed to safely treat individuals exposed to these agents. A review of all therapeutic agents under development for the treatment of the illnesses and injuries that result from exposure to nuclear, biological or chemical warfare agents is beyond the scope of any single article. The intent here is to provide a focused review for medicinal and organic chemists of three widely discussed and easily deployed biological warfare agents, botulinum neurotoxin and ricin toxins and the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax will be addressed because of its similarity in both structure and mechanism of catalytic activity with botulinum toxin. The common feature of these three agents is that they exhibit their biological activity via toxin enzymatic hydrolysis of a specific bond in their respective substrate molecules. A brief introduction to the history of each of the biological warfare agents is presented followed by a discussion on the mechanisms of action of each at the molecular level, and a review of current potential inhibitors under investigation. PMID:15790305

  6. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    ... worried about anthrax germs being grown as a weapon. The issue of laboratory-grown B. anthracis received ... technologically difficult to use anthrax effectively as a weapon on a large scale. Types of Anthrax The ...

  7. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    ... rash and rashes clinical tools newsletter | contact Share | Anthrax Information for adults A A A In cutaneous ... Scientists studying B. anthracis Signs and Symptoms Cutaneous Anthrax Characteristic rash* *The characteristic rash of anthrax looks ...

  8. A novel mechanism for antibody-based anthrax toxin neutralization: inhibition of prepore-to-pore conversion.

    PubMed

    Mechaly, Adva; Levy, Haim; Epstein, Eyal; Rosenfeld, Ronit; Marcus, Hadar; Ben-Arie, Einat; Shafferman, Avigdor; Ordentlich, Arie; Mazor, Ohad

    2012-09-21

    Protective antigen (PA), a key component of anthrax toxin, mediates the entry of lethal factor (LF) or edema factor (EF) through a membranal pore into target cells. We have previously reported the isolation and chimerization of cAb29, an anti-PA monoclonal antibody that effectively neutralizes anthrax toxin in an unknown mechanism. The aim of this study was to elucidate the neutralizing mechanism of this antibody in vitro and to test its ability to confer post-exposure protection against anthrax in vivo. By systematic evaluation of the steps taking place during the PA-based intoxication process, we found that cAb29 did not interfere with the initial steps of intoxication, namely its ability to bind to the anthrax receptor, the consecutive proteolytic cleavage to PA(63), oligomerization, prepore formation, or LF binding. However, the binding of cAb29 to the prepore prevented its pH-triggered transition to the transmembranal pore, thus preventing the last step of intoxication, i.e. the translocation of LF/EF into the cell. Epitope mapping, using a phage display peptide library, revealed that cAb29 binds the 2α(1) loop in domain 2 of PA, a loop that undergoes major conformational changes during pore formation. In vivo, we found that 100% of anthrax-infected rabbits survived when treated with cAb29 12 h after exposure. In conclusion, these experiments demonstrate that cAb29 exerts its potent neutralizing activity in a unique manner by blocking the prepore-to-pore conversion process. PMID:22869370

  9. The Protective Antigen Component of Anthrax Toxin Forms Functional Octameric Complexes

    PubMed Central

    Kintzer, Alexander F.; Thoren, Katie L.; Sterling, Harry J.; Dong, Ken C.; Feld, Geoffrey K.; Tang, Iok I.; Zhang, Teri T.; Williams, Evan R.; Berger, James M.; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2009-01-01

    The assembly of bacterial toxins and virulence factors is critical to their function, but the regulation of assembly during infection has not been studied. We begin to address this question using anthrax toxin as a model. The protective antigen (PA) component of the toxin assembles into ring-shaped homooligomers that bind the two other enzyme components of the toxin, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF), to form toxic complexes. To disrupt the host, these toxic complexes are endocytosed, such that the PA oligomer forms a membrane-spanning channel that LF and EF translocate through to enter the cytosol. We show using single-channel electrophysiology that PA channels contain two populations of conductance states, which correspond with two different PA pre-channel oligomers observed by electron microscopy—the well-described heptamer and a novel octamer. Mass spectrometry demonstrates that the PA octamer binds four LFs, and assembly routes leading to the octamer are populated with even-numbered, dimeric and tetrameric, PA intermediates. Both heptameric and octameric PA complexes can translocate LF and EF with similar rates and efficiencies. Here we also report a 3.2-Å crystal structure of the PA octamer. The octamer comprises ∼20−30% of the oligomers on cells, but outside of the cell, the octamer is more stable than the heptamer under physiological pH. Thus the PA octamer is a physiological, stable, and active assembly state capable of forming lethal toxins that may withstand the hostile conditions encountered in the bloodstream. This assembly mechanism may provide a novel means to control cytotoxicity. PMID:19627991

  10. Comparative toxicity and efficacy of engineered anthrax lethal toxin variants with broad anti-tumor activities

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, Diane E.; Hoover, Benjamin; Cloud, Loretta Grey; Liu, Shihui; Molinolo, Alfredo A.; Leppla, Stephen H.; Bugge, Thomas H.

    2014-09-01

    We have previously designed and characterized versions of anthrax lethal toxin that are selectively cytotoxic in the tumor microenvironment and which display broad and potent anti-tumor activities in vivo. Here, we have performed the first direct comparison of the safety and efficacy of three engineered anthrax lethal toxin variants requiring activation by either matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs), urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) or co-localized MMP/uPA activities. C57BL/6J mice were challenged with six doses of engineered toxins via intraperitoneal (I.P.) or intravenous (I.V.) dose routes to determine the maximum tolerated dose for six administrations (MTD6) and dose-limiting toxicities. Efficacy was evaluated using the B16-BL6 syngraft model of melanoma; mice bearing established tumors were treated with six I.P. doses of toxin and tumor measurements and immunohistochemistry, paired with terminal blood work, were used to elaborate upon the anti-tumor mechanism and relative efficacy of each variant. We found that MMP-, uPA- and dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxins exhibited the same dose-limiting toxicity; dose-dependent GI toxicity. In terms of efficacy, all three toxins significantly reduced primary B16-BL6 tumor burden, ranging from 32% to 87% reduction, and they also delayed disease progression as evidenced by dose-dependent normalization of blood work values. While target organ toxicity and effective doses were similar amongst the variants, the dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxin exhibited the highest I.P. MTD6 and was 1.5–3-fold better tolerated than the single MMP- and uPA-activated toxins. Overall, we demonstrate that this dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxin can be administered safely and is highly effective in a preclinical model of melanoma. This modified bacterial cytotoxin is thus a promising candidate for further clinical development and evaluation for use in treating human cancers. - Highlights: • Toxicity and anti

  11. Anthrax vaccine design: strategies to achieve comprehensive protection against spore, bacillus, and toxin

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Julia Y; Roehrl, Michael H

    2005-01-01

    The successful use of Bacillus anthracis as a lethal biological weapon has prompted renewed research interest in the development of more effective vaccines against anthrax. The disease consists of three critical components: spore, bacillus, and toxin, elimination of any of which confers at least partial protection against anthrax. Current remedies rely on postexposure antibiotics to eliminate bacilli and pre- and postexposure vaccination to target primarily toxins. Vaccines effective against toxin have been licensed for human use, but need improvement. Vaccines against bacilli have recently been developed by us and others. Whether effective vaccines will be developed against spores is still an open question. An ideal vaccine would confer simultaneous protection against spores, bacilli, and toxins. One step towards this goal is our dually active vaccine, designed to destroy both bacilli and toxin. Existing and potential strategies towards potent and effective anthrax vaccines are discussed in this review. PMID:15790405

  12. Dominant-Negative Mutants of a Toxin Subunit: An Approach to Therapy of Anthrax

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sellman, Bret R.; Mourez, Michael; John Collier, R.

    2001-04-01

    The protective antigen moiety of anthrax toxin translocates the toxin's enzymic moieties to the cytosol of mammalian cells by a mechanism that depends on its ability to heptamerize and insert into membranes. We identified dominant-negative mutants of protective antigen that co-assemble with the wild-type protein and block its ability to translocate the enzymic moieties across membranes. These mutants strongly inhibited toxin action in cell culture and in an animal intoxication model, suggesting that they could be useful in therapy of anthrax.

  13. Proton-coupled protein transport through the anthrax toxin channel

    PubMed Central

    Finkelstein, Alan

    2008-01-01

    Anthrax toxin consists of three proteins (approx. 90 kDa each): lethal factor (LF); oedema factor (OF); and protective antigen (PA). The former two are enzymes that act when they reach the cytosol of a targeted cell. To enter the cytosol, however, which they do after being endocytosed into an acidic vesicle compartment, they require the third component, PA. PA (or rather its proteolytically generated fragment PA63) forms at low pH a heptameric β-barrel channel, (PA63)7, through which LF and OF are transported—a phenomenon we have demonstrated in planar phospholipid bilayers. It might appear that (PA63)7 simply forms a large hole through which LF and OF diffuse. However, LF and OF are folded proteins, much too large to fit through the approximately 15 Å diameter (PA63)7 β-barrel. This paper discusses how the (PA63)7 channel both participates in the unfolding of LF and OF and functions in their translocation as a proton–protein symporter. PMID:18957378

  14. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    ... made 22 sick. Anthrax is rare. It affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides. It can cause three ...

  15. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    Anthrax is a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a germ that lives in soil. Many people know ... bioterror attacks. In the attacks, someone purposely spread anthrax through the U.S. mail. This killed five people ...

  16. Analysis of defined combinations of monoclonal antibodies in anthrax toxin neutralization assays and their synergistic action.

    PubMed

    Ngundi, Miriam M; Meade, Bruce D; Little, Stephen F; Quinn, Conrad P; Corbett, Cindi R; Brady, Rebecca A; Burns, Drusilla L

    2012-05-01

    Antibodies against the protective antigen (PA) component of anthrax toxin play an important role in protection against disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. In this study, we examined defined combinations of PA-specific monoclonal antibodies for their ability to neutralize anthrax toxin in cell culture assays. We observed additive, synergistic, and antagonistic effects of the antibodies depending on the specific antibody combination examined and the specific assay used. Synergistic toxin-neutralizing antibody interactions were examined in more detail. We found that one mechanism that can lead to antibody synergy is the bridging of PA monomers by one antibody, with resultant bivalent binding of the second antibody. These results may aid in optimal design of new vaccines and antibody therapies against anthrax. PMID:22441391

  17. Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Datta, K K; Singh, Jagvir

    2002-01-01

    Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, an encapulated and spore-forming bacillus. The disease is usually contracted through uptake of spores that remain viable in the contaminated soil for many years. Anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivorous animals and is uncommon in humans who may get the infection through contact with contaminated animals or their products. Anthrax spores germinate after entering the body through skin abrasions (cutaneous anthrax) or by inhalation (inhalation anthrax) or ingestion (gastrointestinal anthrax) and multiply to produce two exotoxins which determine the virulence along with capsule. Although most cases occur within 48 hours of exposure, germination of spores may occur upto 60 days later. While inhalation anthrax is almost always fatal, intestinal anthrax results in death in 25% to 60% of cases. Upto 20% of cases having cutaneous anthrax may die. Antibiotics are effective if the disease is recognised early and treated appropriately. Penicillin is the drug of choice when disease occurs in natural setting. Ciprofloxacin is recommended when aerosols of anthrax spores are used as bioweapon, prophylactic antibiotics should not be prescribed until risk of exposure is considered real by experts. PMID:11876121

  18. ANTXR-1 and -2 independent modulation of a cytotoxicity mediated by anthrax toxin in human cells.

    PubMed

    Fujikura, Daisuke; Toyomane, Kochi; Kamiya, Kozue; Mutoh, Memi; Mifune, Etsuko; Ohnuma, Miyuki; Higashi, Hideaki

    2016-09-01

    Several animal models have shown that anthrax toxin (ATX) elicits a cytotoxic effect on host cells through anthrax toxin receptor (ANTXR) function. In this study, compared with mouse cells, cells obtained from humans exhibited low sensitivity to ATX-mediated cytotoxicity, and the sensitivity was not correlated with expression levels of ANTXRs. ATX treatment also induced a cytotoxic effect in other cultured human cells, human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells, that express ANTXRs at undetectable levels. Furthermore, ectopic expression of ANTXRs in HEK293 cells did not affect the sensitivity to ATX treatment. These findings suggest that there is an ANTXR-independent cytotoxic mechanism in human cells. PMID:27170489

  19. Ion Conductance of the Stem of the Anthrax Toxin Channel during Lethal Factor Translocation

    PubMed Central

    Schiffmiller, Aviva; Finkelstein, Alan

    2014-01-01

    The tripartite anthrax toxin consists of protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF). PA63 (the 63 kDa, C-terminal part of PA) forms heptameric channels in cell membranes that allow for the transport of LF and EF into the cytosol. These channels are mushroom-shaped, with a ring of seven phenylalanine residues (known as the phenylalanine clamp) lining the junction between the cap and stem. It is known that when LF is translocated through the channel, the phenylalanine clamp creates a seal that causes an essentially complete block of conduction. In order to examine ion conductance in the stem of the channel, we used Venus yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) as a molecular stopper to trap LFN (the 30 kDa, 263-residue N-terminal segment of LF), and various truncated constructs of LFN, in mutant channels in which the phenylalanine clamp residues were mutated to alanines. Here we present evidence that ion movement occurs within the channel stem (but is stopped, of course, at the phenylalanine clamp) during protein translocation. Furthermore, we also propose that the lower region of the stem plays an important role in securing peptide chains during translocation. PMID:24996036

  20. Anthrax toxin lethal factor domain 3 is highly mobile and responsive to ligand binding

    PubMed Central

    Maize, Kimberly M.; Kurbanov, Elbek K.; De La Mora-Rey, Teresa; Geders, Todd W.; Hwang, Dong-Jin; Walters, Michael A.; Johnson, Rodney L.; Amin, Elizabeth A.; Finzel, Barry C.

    2014-01-01

    The secreted anthrax toxin consists of three components: the protective antigen (PA), edema factor (EF) and lethal factor (LF). LF, a zinc metalloproteinase, compromises the host immune system primarily by targeting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases in macrophages. Peptide substrates and small-molecule inhibitors bind LF in the space between domains 3 and 4 of the hydrolase. Domain 3 is attached on a hinge to domain 2 via residues Ile300 and Pro385, and can move through an angular arc of greater than 35° in response to the binding of different ligands. Here, multiple LF structures including five new complexes with co-crystallized inhibitors are compared and three frequently populated LF conformational states termed ‘bioactive’, ‘open’ and ‘tight’ are identified. The bioactive position is observed with large substrate peptides and leaves all peptide-recognition subsites open and accessible. The tight state is seen in unliganded and small-molecule complex structures. In this state, domain 3 is clamped over certain substrate subsites, blocking access. The open position appears to be an intermediate state between these extremes and is observed owing to steric constraints imposed by specific bound ligands. The tight conformation may be the lowest-energy conformation among the reported structures, as it is the position observed with no bound ligand, while the open and bioactive conformations are likely to be ligand-induced. PMID:25372673

  1. New Developments in Vaccines, Inhibitors of Anthrax Toxins, and Antibiotic Therapeutics for Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Beierlein, J.M.; Anderson, A.C.

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent responsible for anthrax infections, poses a significant biodefense threat. There is a high mortality rate associated with untreated anthrax infections; specifically, inhalation anthrax is a particularly virulent form of infection with mortality rates close to 100%, even with aggressive treatment. Currently, a vaccine is not available to the general public and few antibiotics have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of inhalation anthrax. With the threat of natural or engineered bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the limited population for whom the current drugs are approved, there is a clear need for more effective treatments against this deadly infection. A comprehensive review of current research in drug discovery is presented in this article, including efforts to improve the purity and stability of vaccines, design inhibitors targeting the anthrax toxins, and identify inhibitors of novel enzyme targets. High resolution structural information for the anthrax toxins and several essential metabolic enzymes has played a significant role in aiding the structure-based design of potent and selective antibiotics. PMID:22050756

  2. Calcium-independent metal-ion catalytic mechanism of anthrax edema factor

    SciTech Connect

    Shen, Yuequan; Zhukovskaya, Natalia L.; Guo, Qing; Florián, Jan; Tang, Wei-Jen

    2009-11-18

    Edema factor (EF), a key anthrax exotoxin, has an anthrax protective antigen-binding domain (PABD) and a calmodulin (CaM)-activated adenylyl cyclase domain. Here, we report the crystal structures of CaM-bound EF, revealing the architecture of EF PABD. CaM has N- and C-terminal domains and each domain can bind two calcium ions. Calcium binding induces the conformational change of CaM from closed to open. Structures of the EF-CaM complex show how EF locks the N-terminal domain of CaM into a closed conformation regardless of its calcium-loading state. This represents a mechanism of how CaM effector alters the calcium affinity of CaM and uncouples the conformational change of CaM from calcium loading. Furthermore, structures of EF-CaM complexed with nucleotides show that EF uses two-metal-ion catalysis, a prevalent mechanism in DNA and RNA polymerases. A histidine (H351) further facilitates the catalysis of EF by activating a water to deprotonate 3'OH of ATP. Mammalian adenylyl cyclases share no structural similarity with EF and they also use two-metal-ion catalysis, suggesting the catalytic mechanism-driven convergent evolution of two structurally diverse adenylyl cyclases.

  3. Molecular determinants for a cardiovascular collapse in anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Brojatsch, Jurgen; Casadevall, Arturo; Goldman, David L.

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis releases two bipartite proteins, lethal toxin and edema factor, that contribute significantly to the progression of anthrax-associated shock. As blocking the anthrax toxins prevents disease, the toxins are considered the main virulence factors of the bacterium. The anthrax bacterium and the anthrax toxins trigger multiorgan failure associated with enhanced vascular permeability, hemorrhage and cardiac dysfunction in animal challenge models. A recent study using mice that either lacked the anthrax toxin receptor in specific cells and corresponding mice expressing the receptor in specific cell types demonstrated that cardiovascular cells are critical for disease mediated by anthrax lethal toxin. These studies are consistent with involvement of the cardiovascular system, and with an increase of cardiac failure markers observed in human anthrax and in animal models using B. anthracis and anthrax toxins. This review discusses the current state of knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of anthrax and tries to provide a mechanistic model and molecular determinants for the circulatory shock in anthrax. PMID:24389148

  4. Molecular determinants for a cardiovascular collapse in anthrax.

    PubMed

    Brojatsch, Jurgen; Casadevall, Arturo; Goldman, David L

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis releases two bipartite proteins, lethal toxin and edema factor, that contribute significantly to the progression of anthrax-associated shock. As blocking the anthrax toxins prevents disease, the toxins are considered the main virulence factors of the bacterium. The anthrax bacterium and the anthrax toxins trigger multi-organ failure associated with enhanced vascular permeability, hemorrhage and cardiac dysfunction in animal challenge models. A recent study using mice that either lacked the anthrax toxin receptor in specific cells and corresponding mice expressing the receptor in specific cell types demonstrated that cardiovascular cells are critical for disease mediated by anthrax lethal toxin. These studies are consistent with involvement of the cardiovascular system, and with an increase of cardiac failure markers observed in human anthrax and in animal models using B. anthracis and anthrax toxins. This review discusses the current state of knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of anthrax and tries to provide a mechanistic model and molecular determinants for the circulatory shock in anthrax. PMID:24389148

  5. A heterodimer of a VHH (variable domains of camelid heavy chain-only) antibody that inhibits anthrax toxin cell binding linked to a VHH antibody that blocks oligomer formation is highly protective in an anthrax spore challenge model.

    PubMed

    Moayeri, Mahtab; Leysath, Clinton E; Tremblay, Jacqueline M; Vrentas, Catherine; Crown, Devorah; Leppla, Stephen H; Shoemaker, Charles B

    2015-03-01

    Anthrax disease is caused by a toxin consisting of protective antigen (PA), lethal factor, and edema factor. Antibodies against PA have been shown to be protective against the disease. Variable domains of camelid heavy chain-only antibodies (VHHs) with affinity for PA were obtained from immunized alpacas and screened for anthrax neutralizing activity in macrophage toxicity assays. Two classes of neutralizing VHHs were identified recognizing distinct, non-overlapping epitopes. One class recognizes domain 4 of PA at a well characterized neutralizing site through which PA binds to its cellular receptor. A second neutralizing VHH (JKH-C7) recognizes a novel epitope. This antibody inhibits conversion of the PA oligomer from "pre-pore" to its SDS and heat-resistant "pore" conformation while not preventing cleavage of full-length 83-kDa PA (PA83) by cell surface proteases to its oligomer-competent 63-kDa form (PA63). The antibody prevents endocytosis of the cell surface-generated PA63 subunit but not preformed PA63 oligomers formed in solution. JKH-C7 and the receptor-blocking VHH class (JIK-B8) were expressed as a heterodimeric VHH-based neutralizing agent (VNA2-PA). This VNA displayed improved neutralizing potency in cell assays and protected mice from anthrax toxin challenge with much better efficacy than the separate component VHHs. The VNA protected virtually all mice when separately administered at a 1:1 ratio to toxin and protected mice against Bacillus anthracis spore infection. Thus, our studies show the potential of VNAs as anthrax therapeutics. Due to their simple and stable nature, VNAs should be amenable to genetic delivery or administration via respiratory routes. PMID:25564615

  6. A Heterodimer of a VHH (Variable Domains of Camelid Heavy Chain-only) Antibody That Inhibits Anthrax Toxin Cell Binding Linked to a VHH Antibody That Blocks Oligomer Formation Is Highly Protective in an Anthrax Spore Challenge Model*

    PubMed Central

    Moayeri, Mahtab; Leysath, Clinton E.; Tremblay, Jacqueline M.; Vrentas, Catherine; Crown, Devorah; Leppla, Stephen H.; Shoemaker, Charles B.

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax disease is caused by a toxin consisting of protective antigen (PA), lethal factor, and edema factor. Antibodies against PA have been shown to be protective against the disease. Variable domains of camelid heavy chain-only antibodies (VHHs) with affinity for PA were obtained from immunized alpacas and screened for anthrax neutralizing activity in macrophage toxicity assays. Two classes of neutralizing VHHs were identified recognizing distinct, non-overlapping epitopes. One class recognizes domain 4 of PA at a well characterized neutralizing site through which PA binds to its cellular receptor. A second neutralizing VHH (JKH-C7) recognizes a novel epitope. This antibody inhibits conversion of the PA oligomer from “pre-pore” to its SDS and heat-resistant “pore” conformation while not preventing cleavage of full-length 83-kDa PA (PA83) by cell surface proteases to its oligomer-competent 63-kDa form (PA63). The antibody prevents endocytosis of the cell surface-generated PA63 subunit but not preformed PA63 oligomers formed in solution. JKH-C7 and the receptor-blocking VHH class (JIK-B8) were expressed as a heterodimeric VHH-based neutralizing agent (VNA2-PA). This VNA displayed improved neutralizing potency in cell assays and protected mice from anthrax toxin challenge with much better efficacy than the separate component VHHs. The VNA protected virtually all mice when separately administered at a 1:1 ratio to toxin and protected mice against Bacillus anthracis spore infection. Thus, our studies show the potential of VNAs as anthrax therapeutics. Due to their simple and stable nature, VNAs should be amenable to genetic delivery or administration via respiratory routes. PMID:25564615

  7. The Design of Potent Liposome-Based Inhibitors of Anthrax Toxin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rai, Prakash; Padala, Chakradhar; Poon, Vincent; Saraph, Arundhati; Basha, Saleem; Kate, Sandesh; Tao, Kevin; Mogridge, Jeremy; Kane, Ravi

    2006-03-01

    Several biological processes involve the recognition of a specific pattern of binding sites on a target surface. Theoreticians have predicted that endowing synthetic biomimetic structures with statistical pattern matching capabilities may impact the development of sensors and separation processes. We demonstrated for the first time that statistical pattern matching significantly enhances the potency of a polyvalent therapeutic -- an anthrax toxin inhibitor. We functionalized liposomes with an inhibitory peptide at different densities and observed a transition in potency at an inter-peptide separation that matches the distance between ligand-binding sites on the heptameric subunit of anthrax toxin. Pattern-matched polyvalent liposomes neutralized anthrax toxin in vitro at concentrations four orders of magnitude lower than the corresponding monovalent peptide. We also showed that polyvalent liposome-based inhibitors can neutralize a microbial toxin in vivo. Statistical pattern matching represents a facile strategy to enhance the potency of therapeutics targeting toxins or pathogens. Our results also illuminate other fundamental aspects of polyvalent recognition --specifically we found that the efficiency of polyvalent inhibition is influenced by the competition between the rates of ligand dissociation and diffusion.

  8. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    ... that may be prescribed include penicillin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin. Inhalation anthrax is treated with a combination of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin plus another medicine. They are given by IV ( ...

  9. Comparative toxicity and efficacy of engineered anthrax lethal toxin variants with broad anti-tumor activities.

    PubMed

    Peters, Diane E; Hoover, Benjamin; Cloud, Loretta Grey; Liu, Shihui; Molinolo, Alfredo A; Leppla, Stephen H; Bugge, Thomas H

    2014-09-01

    We have previously designed and characterized versions of anthrax lethal toxin that are selectively cytotoxic in the tumor microenvironment and which display broad and potent anti-tumor activities in vivo. Here, we have performed the first direct comparison of the safety and efficacy of three engineered anthrax lethal toxin variants requiring activation by either matrix-metalloproteinases (MMPs), urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) or co-localized MMP/uPA activities. C57BL/6J mice were challenged with six doses of engineered toxins via intraperitoneal (I.P.) or intravenous (I.V.) dose routes to determine the maximum tolerated dose for six administrations (MTD6) and dose-limiting toxicities. Efficacy was evaluated using the B16-BL6 syngraft model of melanoma; mice bearing established tumors were treated with six I.P. doses of toxin and tumor measurements and immunohistochemistry, paired with terminal blood work, were used to elaborate upon the anti-tumor mechanism and relative efficacy of each variant. We found that MMP-, uPA- and dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxins exhibited the same dose-limiting toxicity; dose-dependent GI toxicity. In terms of efficacy, all three toxins significantly reduced primary B16-BL6 tumor burden, ranging from 32% to 87% reduction, and they also delayed disease progression as evidenced by dose-dependent normalization of blood work values. While target organ toxicity and effective doses were similar amongst the variants, the dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxin exhibited the highest I.P. MTD6 and was 1.5-3-fold better tolerated than the single MMP- and uPA-activated toxins. Overall, we demonstrate that this dual MMP/uPA-activated anthrax lethal toxin can be administered safely and is highly effective in a preclinical model of melanoma. This modified bacterial cytotoxin is thus a promising candidate for further clinical development and evaluation for use in treating human cancers. PMID:24971906

  10. A kinetic analysis of protein transport through the anthrax toxin channel

    PubMed Central

    Kienker, Paul K.; Briggs, Stephen W.; Finkelstein, Alan

    2011-01-01

    Anthrax toxin is composed of three proteins: a translocase heptameric channel, (PA63)7, formed from protective antigen (PA), which allows the other two proteins, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF), to translocate across a host cell’s endosomal membrane, disrupting cellular homeostasis. (PA63)7 incorporated into planar phospholipid bilayer membranes forms a channel capable of transporting LF and EF. Protein translocation through the channel can be driven by voltage on a timescale of seconds. A characteristic of the translocation of LFN, the N-terminal 263 residues of LF, is its S-shaped kinetics. Because all of the translocation experiments reported in the literature have been performed with more than one LFN molecule bound to most of the channels, it is not clear whether the S-shaped kinetics are an intrinsic characteristic of translocation kinetics or are merely a consequence of the translocation in tandem of two or three LFNs. In this paper, we show both in macroscopic and single-channel experiments that even with only one LFN bound to the channel, the translocation kinetics are S shaped. As expected, the translocation rate is slower with more than one LFN bound. We also present a simple electrodiffusion model of translocation in which LFN is represented as a charged rod that moves subject to both Brownian motion and an applied electric field. The cumulative distribution of first-passage times of the rod past the end of the channel displays S-shaped kinetics with a voltage dependence in agreement with experimental data. PMID:21624946

  11. Anthrax Edema Factor: An Ion-Adaptive Mechanism of Catalysis with Increased Transition-State Conformational Flexibility.

    PubMed

    Jara, Gabriel E; Martínez, Leandro

    2016-07-14

    Edema Factor (EF) is one of three major toxins of anthrax. EF is an adenylyl cyclase that disrupts cell signaling by accelerating the conversion of ATP into cyclic-AMP. EF has a much higher catalytic rate than that of mammalian adenylyl cyclases (mACs). Crystal structures were obtained for mACs and EF, but the molecular basis for different catalytic activities remained poorly understood. In particular, the arrangement of the active site in EF is unclear in what concerns the number of ions present and the conformation of the substrate. Here, we use quantum mechanics-molecular mechanics simulations to estimate the free-energy profiles for the reaction catalyzed by EF and a mAC. We found that EF catalysis is possible, and faster than that of mACs, in both one and two Mg(2+)-ion-binding modes, providing adaptive plasticity to host-cell environments. In both enzymes, the reaction mechanisms are highly associative. However, mechanistic differences exist. In the mAC, the nucleophile oxygen (ATP-O3') is consistently coordinated to one of the Mg(2+) ions, increasing its acidity. In EF, on the other hand, this coordination is eventual and not essential for the reaction to proceed. The persistent coordination of O3' to the ion is favored in mACs by a greater ion partial charge. In EF, the reduced acidity of the O3' oxygen is compensated by the presence of the His351 residue for proton abstraction. As proton transfer in EF does not require persistent attachment of the substrate to an ion, the substrate (ATP) and transition state display greater conformational flexibilities. These greater flexibilities allow the sampling of lower-energy conformations and might represent an entropic advantage for catalytic efficiency. PMID:27260163

  12. Edema Toxin Impairs Anthracidal Phospholipase A2 Expression by Alveolar Macrophages

    PubMed Central

    Raymond, Benoit; Leduc, Dominique; Ravaux, Lucas; Goffic, Ronan Le; Candela, Thomas; Raymondjean, Michel; Goossens, Pierre Louis; Touqui, Lhousseine

    2007-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, is a spore-forming Gram-positive bacterium. Infection with this pathogen results in multisystem dysfunction and death. The pathogenicity of B. anthracis is due to the production of virulence factors, including edema toxin (ET). Recently, we established the protective role of type-IIA secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-IIA) against B. anthracis. A component of innate immunity produced by alveolar macrophages (AMs), sPLA2-IIA is found in human and animal bronchoalveolar lavages at sufficient levels to kill B. anthracis. However, pulmonary anthrax is almost always fatal, suggesting the potential impairment of sPLA2-IIA synthesis and/or action by B. anthracis factors. We investigated the effect of purified ET and ET-deficient B. anthracis strains on sPLA2-IIA expression in primary guinea pig AMs. We report that ET inhibits sPLA2-IIA expression in AMs at the transcriptional level via a cAMP/protein kinase A–dependent process. Moreover, we show that live B. anthracis strains expressing functional ET inhibit sPLA2-IIA expression, whereas ET-deficient strains induced this expression. This stimulatory effect, mediated partly by the cell wall peptidoglycan, can be counterbalanced by ET. We conclude that B. anthracis down-regulates sPLA2-IIA expression in AMs through a process involving ET. Our study, therefore, describes a new molecular mechanism implemented by B. anthracis to escape innate host defense. These pioneering data will provide new molecular targets for future intervention against this deathly pathogen. PMID:18069891

  13. Cryo-electron microscopy study of bacteriophage T4 displaying anthrax toxin proteins

    SciTech Connect

    Fokine, Andrei; Bowman, Valorie D.; Battisti, Anthony J.; Li Qin; Chipman, Paul R.; Rao, Venigalla B.; Rossmann, Michael G.

    2007-10-25

    The bacteriophage T4 capsid contains two accessory surface proteins, the small outer capsid protein (Soc, 870 copies) and the highly antigenic outer capsid protein (Hoc, 155 copies). As these are dispensable for capsid formation, they can be used for displaying proteins and macromolecular complexes on the T4 capsid surface. Anthrax toxin components were attached to the T4 capsid as a fusion protein of the N-terminal domain of the anthrax lethal factor (LFn) with Soc. The LFn-Soc fusion protein was complexed in vitro with Hoc{sup -}Soc{sup -}T4 phage. Subsequently, cleaved anthrax protective antigen heptamers (PA63){sub 7} were attached to the exposed LFn domains. A cryo-electron microscopy study of the decorated T4 particles shows the complex of PA63 heptamers with LFn-Soc on the phage surface. Although the cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction is unable to differentiate on its own between different proposed models of the anthrax toxin, the density is consistent with a model that had predicted the orientation and position of three LFn molecules bound to one PA63 heptamer.

  14. Select human anthrax protective antigen epitope-specific antibodies provide protection from lethal toxin challenge.

    PubMed

    Crowe, Sherry R; Ash, Linda L; Engler, Renata J M; Ballard, Jimmy D; Harley, John B; Farris, A Darise; James, Judith A

    2010-07-15

    Bacillus anthracis remains a serious bioterrorism concern, and the currently licensed vaccine remains an incomplete solution for population protection from inhalation anthrax and has been associated with concerns regarding efficacy and safety. Thus, understanding how to generate long-lasting protective immunity with reduced immunizations or provide protection through postexposure immunotherapeutics are long-sought goals. Through evaluation of a large military cohort, we characterized the levels of antibodies against protective antigen and found that over half of anthrax vaccinees had low serum levels of in vitro toxin neutralization capacity. Using solid-phase epitope mapping and confirmatory assays, we identified several neutralization-associated humoral epitopes and demonstrated that select antipeptide responses mediated protection in vitro. Finally, passively transferred antibodies specific for select epitopes provided protection in an in vivo lethal toxin mouse model. Identification of these antigenic regions has important implications for vaccine design and the development of directed immunotherapeutics. PMID:20533877

  15. Biochip for the Detection of Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Therapeutic Agents against Anthrax Toxins.

    PubMed

    Silin, Vitalii; Kasianowicz, John J; Michelman-Ribeiro, Ariel; Panchal, Rekha G; Bavari, Sina; Robertson, Joseph W F

    2016-01-01

    Tethered lipid bilayer membranes (tBLMs) have been used in many applications, including biosensing and membrane protein structure studies. This report describes a biosensor for anthrax toxins that was fabricated through the self-assembly of a tBLM with B. anthracis protective antigen ion channels that are both the recognition element and electrochemical transducer. We characterize the sensor and its properties with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. The sensor shows a sensitivity similar to ELISA and can also be used to rapidly screen for molecules that bind to the toxins and potentially inhibit their lethal effects. PMID:27348008

  16. Combining Anthrax Vaccine and Therapy: a Dominant-Negative Inhibitor of Anthrax Toxin Is Also a Potent and Safe Immunogen for Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Aulinger, Benedikt A.; Roehrl, Michael H.; Mekalanos, John J.; Collier, R. John; Wang, Julia Y.

    2005-01-01

    Anthrax is caused by the unimpeded growth of Bacillus anthracis in the host and the secretion of toxins. The currently available vaccine is based on protective antigen (PA), a central component of anthrax toxin. Vaccination with PA raises no direct immune response against the bacilli and, being a natural toxin component, PA might be hazardous when used immediately following exposure to B. anthracis. Thus, we have sought to develop a vaccine or therapeutic agent that is safe and eliminates both secreted toxins and bacilli. To that end, we have previously developed a dually active vaccine by conjugating the capsular poly-γ-d-glutamate (PGA) with PA to elicit the production of antibodies specific for both bacilli and toxins. In the present report, we describe the improved potency of anthrax vaccines through the use of a dominant-negative inhibitory (DNI) mutant to replace PA in PA or PA-PGA vaccines. When tested in mice, DNI alone is more immunogenic than PA, and DNI-PGA conjugate elicits significantly higher levels of antibodies against PA and PGA than PA-PGA conjugate. To explain the enhanced immunogenicity of DNI, we propose that the two point mutations in DNI may have improved epitopes of PA allowing better antigen presentation to helper T cells. Alternatively, these mutations may enhance the immunological processing of PA by altering endosomal trafficking of the toxin in antigen-presenting cells. Because DNI has previously been demonstrated to inhibit anthrax toxin, postexposure use of DNI-based vaccines, including conjugate vaccines, may provide improved immunogenicity and therapeutic activity simultaneously. PMID:15908368

  17. Immunization of Mice with Anthrax Protective Antigen Limits Cardiotoxicity but Not Hepatotoxicity Following Lethal Toxin Challenge.

    PubMed

    Devera, T Scott; Prusator, Dawn K; Joshi, Sunil K; Ballard, Jimmy D; Lang, Mark L

    2015-07-01

    Protective immunity against anthrax is inferred from measurement of vaccine antigen-specific neutralizing antibody titers in serum samples. In animal models, in vivo challenges with toxin and/or spores can also be performed. However, neither of these approaches considers toxin-induced damage to specific organ systems. It is therefore important to determine to what extent anthrax vaccines and existing or candidate adjuvants can provide organ-specific protection against intoxication. We therefore compared the ability of Alum, CpG DNA and the CD1d ligand α-galactosylceramide (αGC) to enhance protective antigen-specific antibody titers, to protect mice against challenge with lethal toxin, and to block cardiotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. By measurement of serum cardiac Troponin I (cTnI), and hepatic alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), it was apparent that neither vaccine modality prevented hepatic intoxication, despite high Ab titers and ultimate survival of the subject. In contrast, cardiotoxicity was greatly diminished by prior immunization. This shows that a vaccine that confers survival following toxin exposure may still have an associated morbidity. We propose that organ-specific intoxication should be monitored routinely during research into new vaccine modalities. PMID:26120785

  18. Endocytosis of the Anthrax Toxin Is Mediated by Clathrin, Actin and Unconventional Adaptors

    PubMed Central

    Abrami, Laurence; Bischofberger, Mirko; Kunz, Béatrice; Groux, Romain; van der Goot, F. Gisou

    2010-01-01

    The anthrax toxin is a tripartite toxin, where the two enzymatic subunits require the third subunit, the protective antigen (PA), to interact with cells and be escorted to their cytoplasmic targets. PA binds to cells via one of two receptors, TEM8 and CMG2. Interestingly, the toxin times and triggers its own endocytosis, in particular through the heptamerization of PA. Here we show that PA triggers the ubiquitination of its receptors in a β-arrestin-dependent manner and that this step is required for clathrin-mediated endocytosis. In addition, we find that endocytosis is dependent on the heterotetrameric adaptor AP-1 but not the more conventional AP-2. Finally, we show that endocytosis of PA is strongly dependent on actin. Unexpectedly, actin was also found to be essential for efficient heptamerization of PA, but only when bound to one of its 2 receptors, TEM8, due to the active organization of TEM8 into actin-dependent domains. Endocytic pathways are highly modular systems. Here we identify some of the key players that allow efficient heptamerization of PA and subsequent ubiquitin-dependent, clathrin-mediated endocytosis of the anthrax toxin. PMID:20221438

  19. A microfluidic live cell assay to study anthrax toxin induced cell lethality assisted by conditioned medium

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Jie; Cai, Changzu; Yu, Zhilong; Pang, Yuhong; Zhou, Ying; Qian, Lili; Wei, Wensheng; Huang, Yanyi

    2015-01-01

    It is technically challenging to investigate the function of secreted protein in real time by supply of conditioned medium that contains secreted protein of interest. The internalization of anthrax toxin is facilitated by a secreted protein Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) and its receptor, and eventually leads to cell lethality. To monitor the dynamic interplay between these components in live cells, we use an integrated microfluidic device to perform the cell viability assays with real-time controlled culture microenvironment in parallel. Conditioned medium, which contains the secreted proteins from specific cell lines, can be continuously pumped towards the cells that exposed to toxin. The exogenous DKK1 secreted from distant cells is able to rescue the sensitivity to toxin for those DKK1-knocked-down cells. This high-throughput assay allows us to precisely quantify the dynamic interaction between key components that cause cell death, and provide independent evidence of the function of DKK1 in the complex process of anthrax toxin internalization. PMID:25731605

  20. Immunization of Mice with Anthrax Protective Antigen Limits Cardiotoxicity but Not Hepatotoxicity Following Lethal Toxin Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Devera, T. Scott; Prusator, Dawn K.; Joshi, Sunil K.; Ballard, Jimmy D.; Lang, Mark L.

    2015-01-01

    Protective immunity against anthrax is inferred from measurement of vaccine antigen-specific neutralizing antibody titers in serum samples. In animal models, in vivo challenges with toxin and/or spores can also be performed. However, neither of these approaches considers toxin-induced damage to specific organ systems. It is therefore important to determine to what extent anthrax vaccines and existing or candidate adjuvants can provide organ-specific protection against intoxication. We therefore compared the ability of Alum, CpG DNA and the CD1d ligand α-galactosylceramide (αGC) to enhance protective antigen-specific antibody titers, to protect mice against challenge with lethal toxin, and to block cardiotoxicity and hepatotoxicity. By measurement of serum cardiac Troponin I (cTnI), and hepatic alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), it was apparent that neither vaccine modality prevented hepatic intoxication, despite high Ab titers and ultimate survival of the subject. In contrast, cardiotoxicity was greatly diminished by prior immunization. This shows that a vaccine that confers survival following toxin exposure may still have an associated morbidity. We propose that organ-specific intoxication should be monitored routinely during research into new vaccine modalities. PMID:26120785

  1. A role for PACE4 in the proteolytic activation of anthrax toxin protective antigen.

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, V M; Rehemtulla, A; Leppla, S H

    1997-01-01

    Several bacterial protein toxins require activation by eukaryotic proteases. Previous studies have shown that anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA), Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE), and diphtheria toxin (DT) are cleaved by furin C-terminal to the sequences RKKR, RQPR, and RVRR, respectively. Because furin-deficient cells retain some sensitivity to PA and DT, it is evident that other cellular proteases can activate these toxins. Whereas furin has been shown to require arginine residues at positions -1 and -4 for substrate recognition, another protease with an activity which could substitute for furin in toxin activation, the furin-related protease PACE4, requires basic residues in the -1, -2, and -4 positions of the substrate sequence. To examine the relative roles of furin and PACE4 in toxin activation, we used furin-deficient CHO cells (FD11 cells) transfected with either the furin (FD11/furin cells) or PACE4 (FD11/PACE4 cells) gene. Mutant PA proteins containing the cleavage sequence RAAR or KR were cytotoxic toward cells expressing only PACE4. In vitro cleavage data demonstrated that PACE4 can recognize RAAR and, to a much lesser extent, KR and RR. When extracts from PACE4-transfected cells were used as a source of proteases, PACE4 had minimal activity, indicating that it had been partially inactivated or did not remain associated with the cell membranes. Cleavage of iodinated PA containing the sequence RKKR or RAAR was detected on the surface of all cell types tested, but cleavage of a dibasic sequence was detected only intracellularly and only in cells that expressed furin or PACE4. The data provide evidence that PACE4 is present at the exterior of cells, that it plays a role in the proteolytic activation of anthrax toxin PA, and that PACE4 can activate substrates at the sequence RAAR or KR. PMID:9234799

  2. Ultrasensitive detection of protease activity of anthrax and botulinum toxins by a new PCR-based assay.

    PubMed

    Kolesnikov, Alexander V; Kozyr, Arina V; Ryabko, Alyona K; Shemyakin, Igor G

    2016-02-01

    Anthrax and botulism are dangerous infectious diseases that can be fatal unless detected and treated quickly. Fatalities from these diseases are primarily due to endopeptidase toxins secreted by the pathogens. Rapid and sensitive detection of the presence of active toxins is the key element for protection from natural outbreaks of anthrax and botulism, as well as from the threat of bioterrorism. We describe an ultrasensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for detecting proteolytic activity of anthrax and botulinum toxins using composite probes consisting of covalent peptide-DNA conjugate for the detection of anthrax, and noncovalent protein-aptamer assembly to assay botulinum toxin activity. Probes immobilized on the solid-phase support are cleaved by toxins to release DNA, which is detected by real-time PCR. Both assays can detect subpicogram quantities of active toxins isolated from composite matrices. Special procedures were developed to isolate intact toxins from the matrices under mild conditions. The assay is rapid, uses proven technologies, and can be modified to detect other proteolytic and biopolymer-degrading enzymes. PMID:26620058

  3. Combination of two candidate subunit vaccine antigens elicits protective immunity to ricin and anthrax toxin in mice.

    PubMed

    Vance, David J; Rong, Yinghui; Brey, Robert N; Mantis, Nicholas J

    2015-01-01

    In an effort to develop combination vaccines for biodefense, we evaluated a ricin subunit antigen, RiVax, given in conjunction with an anthrax protective antigen, DNI. The combination led to high endpoint titer antibody response, neutralizing antibodies, and protective immunity against ricin and anthrax lethal toxin. This is a natural combination vaccine, since both antigens are recombinant subunit proteins that would be given to the same target population. PMID:25475957

  4. The Disulfide Bond Cys255-Cys279 in the Immunoglobulin-Like Domain of Anthrax Toxin Receptor 2 Is Required for Membrane Insertion of Anthrax Protective Antigen Pore

    PubMed Central

    Boone, Kyle; Altiyev, Agamyrat; Puschhof, Jens; Sauter, Roland; Arigi, Emma; Ruiz, Blanca; Peng, Xiuli; Almeida, Igor; Sherman, Michael; Xiao, Chuan; Sun, Jianjun

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax toxin receptors act as molecular clamps or switches that control anthrax toxin entry, pH-dependent pore formation, and translocation of enzymatic moieties across the endosomal membranes. We previously reported that reduction of the disulfide bonds in the immunoglobulin-like (Ig) domain of the anthrax toxin receptor 2 (ANTXR2) inhibited the function of the protective antigen (PA) pore. In the present study, the disulfide linkage in the Ig domain was identified as Cys255-Cys279 and Cys230-Cys315. Specific disulfide bond deletion mutants were achieved by replacing Cys residues with Ala residues. Deletion of the disulfide bond C255-C279, but not C230-C315, inhibited the PA pore-induced release of the fluorescence dyes from the liposomes, suggesting that C255-C279 is essential for PA pore function. Furthermore, we found that deletion of C255-C279 did not affect PA prepore-to-pore conversion, but inhibited PA pore membrane insertion by trapping the PA membrane-inserting loops in proteinaceous hydrophobic pockets. Fluorescence spectra of Trp59, a residue adjacent to the PA-binding motif in von Willebrand factor A (VWA) domain of ANTXR2, showed that deletion of C255-C279 resulted in a significant conformational change on the receptor ectodomain. The disulfide deletion-induced conformational change on the VWA domain was further confirmed by single-particle 3D reconstruction of the negatively stained PA-receptor heptameric complexes. Together, the biochemical and structural data obtained in this study provides a mechanistic insight into the role of the receptor disulfide bond C255-C279 in anthrax toxin action. Manipulation of the redox states of the receptor, specifically targeting to C255-C279, may become a novel strategy to treat anthrax. PMID:26107617

  5. Monitoring the kinetics of the pH-driven transition of the anthrax toxin prepore to the pore by biolayer interferometry and surface plasmon resonance.

    PubMed

    Naik, Subhashchandra; Brock, Susan; Akkaladevi, Narahari; Tally, Jon; McGinn-Straub, Wesley; Zhang, Na; Gao, Phillip; Gogol, E P; Pentelute, B L; Collier, R John; Fisher, Mark T

    2013-09-17

    Domain 2 of the anthrax protective antigen (PA) prepore heptamer unfolds and refolds during endosome acidification to generate an extended 100 Å β barrel pore that inserts into the endosomal membrane. The PA pore facilitates the pH-dependent unfolding and translocation of bound toxin enzymic components, lethal factor (LF) and/or edema factor, from the endosome to the cytoplasm. We constructed immobilized complexes of the prepore with the PA-binding domain of LF (LFN) to monitor the real-time prepore to pore kinetic transition using surface plasmon resonance and biolayer interferometry (BLI). The kinetics of this transition increased as the solution pH was decreased from 7.5 to 5.0, mirroring acidification of the endosome. Once it had undergone the transition, the LFN-PA pore complex was removed from the BLI biosensor tip and deposited onto electron microscopy grids, where PA pore formation was confirmed by negative stain electron microscopy. When the soluble receptor domain (ANTRX2/CMG2) binds the immobilized PA prepore, the transition to the pore state was observed only after the pH was lowered to early (pH 5.5) or late (pH 5.0) endosomal pH conditions. Once the pore formed, the soluble receptor readily dissociated from the PA pore. Separate binding experiments with immobilized PA pores and the soluble receptor indicate that the receptor has a weakened propensity to bind to the transitioned pore. This immobilized anthrax toxin platform can be used to identify or validate potential antimicrobial lead compounds capable of regulating and/or inhibiting anthrax toxin complex formation or pore transitions. PMID:23964683

  6. Highly predictive support vector machine (SVM) models for anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF) inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xia; Amin, Elizabeth Ambrose

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax is a highly lethal, acute infectious disease caused by the rod-shaped, Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF), a zinc metalloprotease secreted by the bacilli, plays a key role in anthrax pathogenesis and is chiefly responsible for anthrax-related toxemia and host death, partly via inactivation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPKK) enzymes and consequent disruption of key cellular signaling pathways. Antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones are capable of clearing the bacilli but have no effect on LF-mediated toxemia; LF itself therefore remains the preferred target for toxin inactivation. However, currently no LF inhibitor is available on the market as a therapeutic, partly due to the insufficiency of existing LF inhibitor scaffolds in terms of efficacy, selectivity, and toxicity. In the current work, we present novel support vector machine (SVM) models with high prediction accuracy that are designed to rapidly identify potential novel, structurally diverse LF inhibitor chemical matter from compound libraries. These SVM models were trained and validated using 508 compounds with published LF biological activity data and 847 inactive compounds deposited in the Pub Chem BioAssay database. One model, M1, demonstrated particularly favorable selectivity toward highly active compounds by correctly predicting 39 (95.12%) out of 41 nanomolar-level LF inhibitors, 46 (93.88%) out of 49 inactives, and 844 (99.65%) out of 847 Pub Chem inactives in external, unbiased test sets. These models are expected to facilitate the prediction of LF inhibitory activity for existing molecules, as well as identification of novel potential LF inhibitors from large datasets. PMID:26615468

  7. Identification of a Receptor-Binding Region within Domain 4 of the Protective Antigen Component of Anthrax Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Varughese, Mini; Teixeira, Avelino V.; Liu, Shihui; Leppla, Stephen H.

    1999-01-01

    Anthrax toxin from Bacillus anthracis is a three-component toxin consisting of lethal factor (LF), edema factor (EF), and protective antigen (PA). LF and EF are the catalytic components of the toxin, whereas PA is the receptor-binding component. To identify residues of PA that are involved in interaction with the cellular receptor, two solvent-exposed loops of domain 4 of PA (amino acids [aa] 679 to 693 and 704 to 723) were mutagenized, and the altered proteins purified and tested for toxicity in the presence of LF. In addition to the intended substitutions, novel mutations were introduced by errors that occurred during PCR. Substitutions within the large loop (aa 704 to 723) had no effect on PA activity. A mutated protein, LST-35, with three substitutions in the small loop (aa 679 to 693), bound weakly to the receptor and was nontoxic. A mutated protein, LST-8, with changes in three separate regions did not bind to receptor and was nontoxic. Toxicity was greatly decreased by truncation of the C-terminal 3 to 5 aa, but not by their substitution with nonnative residues or the extension of the terminus with nonnative sequences. Comparison of the 28 mutant proteins described here showed that the large loop (aa 704 to 722) is not involved in receptor binding, whereas residues in and near the small loop (aa 679 to 693) play an important role in receptor interaction. Other regions of domain 4, in particular residues at the extreme C terminus, appear to play a role in stabilizing a conformation needed for receptor-binding activity. PMID:10085028

  8. Role of macrophage oxidative burst in the action of anthrax lethal toxin.

    PubMed Central

    Hanna, P. C.; Kruskal, B. A.; Ezekowitz, R. A.; Bloom, B. R.; Collier, R. J.

    1994-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Major symptoms and death from systemic Bacillus anthracis infections are mediated by the action of the pathogen's lethal toxin on host macrophages. High levels of the toxin are cytolytic to macrophages, whereas low levels stimulate these cells to produce cytokines (interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha), which induce systemic shock and death. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Experiments were performed to assess the possibility that the oxidative burst may be involved in one or both of lethal toxin's effects on macrophages. Toximediated cell lysis, superoxide anion and cytokine production were measured. Effects of antioxidants and macrophage mutations were examined. RESULTS: RAW264.7 murine macrophages treated with high levels of toxin released large amounts of superoxide anion, beginning at about 1 hr, which correlates with the onset of cytolysis. Cytolysis could be blocked with various exogenous antioxidants or with N-acetyl-L-cysteine and methionine, which promote production of the endogenous antioxidant, glutathione. Mutant murine macrophage lines deficient in production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROIs) were relatively insensitive to the lytic effects of the toxin, whereas a line with increased oxidative burst potential showed elevated sensitivity. Also, cultured blood monocyte-derived macrophages from a patient with Chronic Granulomatous Disease, a disorder in which the phagocyte's oxidative burst is disabled, were totally resistant to toxin, in contrast to control monocytes. CONCLUSIONS: These results imply that the cytolytic effect of the toxin is mediated by ROIs. Additionally, cytokine production and consequent pathologies showed partial dependence on macrophage ROIs. Antioxidants moderately inhibited toxin-induced cytokine production in vitro, and BALB/c mice pretreated with N-acetyl-L-cysteine or mepacrine showed partial protection against lethal toxin. Thus ROIs are involved in both the cytolytic action of anthrax lethal toxin and

  9. Diminished but Not Abolished Effect of Two His351 Mutants of Anthrax Edema Factor in a Murine Model

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Taoran; Zhao, Xinghui; Liu, Ju; Meng, Yingying; Feng, Yingying; Fang, Ting; Zhang, Jinlong; Yang, Xiuxu; Li, Jianmin; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Edema toxin (ET), which is composed of a potent adenylate cyclase (AC), edema factor (EF), and protective antigen (PA), is one of the major toxicity factors of Bacillus anthracis. In this study, we introduced mutations in full-length EF to generate alanine EF(H351A) and arginine EF(H351R) variants. In vitro activity analysis displayed that the adenylyl cyclase activity of both the mutants was significantly diminished compared with the wild-type EF. When the native and mutant toxins were administered subcutaneously in a mouse footpad edema model, severe acute swelling was evoked by wild-type ET, while the symptoms induced by mutant toxins were very minor. Systemic administration of these EF variants caused non-lethal hepatotoxicity. In addition, EF(H351R) exhibited slightly higher activity in causing more severe edema than EF(H351A). Our findings demonstrate that the toxicity of ET is not abolished by substitution of EF residue His351 by alanine or arginine. These results also indicate the potential of the mouse footpad edema model as a sensitive method for evaluating both ET toxicity and the efficacy of candidate therapeutic agents. PMID:26848687

  10. Diminished but Not Abolished Effect of Two His351 Mutants of Anthrax Edema Factor in a Murine Model.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Taoran; Zhao, Xinghui; Liu, Ju; Meng, Yingying; Feng, Yingying; Fang, Ting; Zhang, Jinlong; Yang, Xiuxu; Li, Jianmin; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2016-02-01

    Edema toxin (ET), which is composed of a potent adenylate cyclase (AC), edema factor (EF), and protective antigen (PA), is one of the major toxicity factors of Bacillus anthracis. In this study, we introduced mutations in full-length EF to generate alanine EF(H351A) and arginine EF(H351R) variants. In vitro activity analysis displayed that the adenylyl cyclase activity of both the mutants was significantly diminished compared with the wild-type EF. When the native and mutant toxins were administered subcutaneously in a mouse footpad edema model, severe acute swelling was evoked by wild-type ET, while the symptoms induced by mutant toxins were very minor. Systemic administration of these EF variants caused non-lethal hepatotoxicity. In addition, EF(H351R) exhibited slightly higher activity in causing more severe edema than EF(H351A). Our findings demonstrate that the toxicity of ET is not abolished by substitution of EF residue His351 by alanine or arginine. These results also indicate the potential of the mouse footpad edema model as a sensitive method for evaluating both ET toxicity and the efficacy of candidate therapeutic agents. PMID:26848687

  11. Designed Azolopyridinium Salts Block Protective Antigen Pores In Vitro and Protect Cells from Anthrax Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Duscha, Kerstin; Riedl, Zsuzsanna; Huber-Lang, Markus; Benz, Roland; Hajós, György; Barth, Holger

    2013-01-01

    Background Several intracellular acting bacterial protein toxins of the AB-type, which are known to enter cells by endocytosis, are shown to produce channels. This holds true for protective antigen (PA), the binding component of the tripartite anthrax-toxin of Bacillus anthracis. Evidence has been presented that translocation of the enzymatic components of anthrax-toxin across the endosomal membrane of target cells and channel formation by the heptameric/octameric PA63 binding/translocation component are related phenomena. Chloroquine and some 4-aminoquinolones, known as potent drugs against Plasmodium falciparium infection of humans, block efficiently the PA63-channel in a dose dependent way. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we demonstrate that related positively charged heterocyclic azolopyridinium salts block the PA63-channel in the µM range, when both, inhibitor and PA63 are added to the same side of the membrane, the cis-side, which corresponds to the lumen of acidified endosomal vesicles of target cells. Noise-analysis allowed the study of the kinetics of the plug formation by the heterocycles. In vivo experiments using J774A.1 macrophages demonstrated that the inhibitors of PA63-channel function also efficiently block intoxication of the cells by the combination lethal factor and PA63 in the same concentration range as they block the channels in vitro. Conclusions/Significance These results strongly argue in favor of a transport of lethal factor through the PA63-channel and suggest that the heterocycles used in this study could represent attractive candidates for development of novel therapeutic strategies against anthrax. PMID:23840407

  12. Crystallographic studies of the anthrax lethal toxin. Final report, 1 July 1994-31 December 1996

    SciTech Connect

    Frederick, C.A.

    1997-01-01

    Protective Antigen (PA) is the central component of the three-part protein toxin secreted by Bacillus anthraces, the organism responsible for anthrax. Following proteolytic activation on the host cell surface, PA forms a membrane-inserting heptamer that translocates the toxic enzymes into the cytosol. We have solved the crystal structure of monomeric PA at 2.1 A resolution and the water-soluble heptamer at 4.5 A resolution. The monomer is organized mainly into antiparallel b-sheets and has four domains: an N-terminal domain containing two calcium ions; a heptamerization domain containing a large flexible loop implicated in membrane insertion; a small domain of unknown function; and a C-terminal receptor-binding domain. Removal of a 20 kDa fragment from the N-terminal domain permits assembly of the heptamer, a ring-shaped structure with a negatively charged lumen, and exposes a large hydrophobic surface for binding the toxic enzymes. We present a model of pH-dependent membrane insertion involving formation of a porin-like membrane-spanning b barrel. These studies greatly enhance current understanding of the mechanism of anthrax intoxication, and will be useful in the design of recombinant anthrax vaccines.

  13. [Bacillus anthracis: causative agent of anthrax].

    PubMed

    Boutiba-Ben Boubaker, I; Ben Redjeb, S

    2001-12-01

    Anthrax, an acute infectious disease of historical importance, is once again regaining interest with its use as a biological weapon. It is caused by B. anthracis, a Gram positive spore forming rod usually surrounded by a capsule and producing toxin. It occurs most frequently as an epizootic or enzootic disease of herbivores that acquire spores form direct contact with contaminated soil. Spores can survive for many years in soil. Animal vaccination programs have reduced drastically the disease in developed countries. In humans, the disease is acquired following contact with anthrax infected animals or their products. 3 types of anthrax infection can occur: cutaneous, inhalational and gastro intestinal. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common observed form. When germination occurs, replicating bacteria release toxin leading to hemorrhage, edema, necrosis and death. Full virulence of B. anthracis requires the presence of both antiphagocytic capsule and 3 toxin components (protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor). Most naturally occurring anthrax strains are sensitive to penicillin but resistant to third generation cephalosporins. Post exposure prophylaxis is indicated to prevent inhalational anthrax. PMID:11892436

  14. Engineering Anthrax Toxin Variants That Exclusively Form Octamers and Their Application to Targeting Tumors*

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Damilola D.; Fattah, Rasem J.; Crown, Devorah; Zhang, Yi; Liu, Shihui; Moayeri, Mahtab; Fischer, Elizabeth R.; Hansen, Bryan T.; Ghirlando, Rodolfo; Nestorovich, Ekaterina M.; Wein, Alexander N.; Simons, Lacy; Leppla, Stephen H.; Leysath, Clinton E.

    2013-01-01

    Anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) delivers its effector proteins into the host cell cytosol through formation of an oligomeric pore, which can assume heptameric or octameric states. By screening a highly directed library of PA mutants, we identified variants that complement each other to exclusively form octamers. These PA variants were individually nontoxic and demonstrated toxicity only when combined with their complementary partner. We then engineered requirements for activation by matrix metalloproteases and urokinase plasminogen activator into two of these variants. The resulting therapeutic toxin specifically targeted cells expressing both tumor associated proteases and completely stopped tumor growth in mice when used at a dose far below that which caused toxicity. This scheme for obtaining intercomplementing subunits can be employed with other oligomeric proteins and potentially has wide application. PMID:23393143

  15. Structure–Activity Relationship of Semicarbazone EGA Furnishes Photoaffinity Inhibitors of Anthrax Toxin Cellular Entry

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    EGA, 1, prevents the entry of multiple viruses and bacterial toxins into mammalian cells by inhibiting vesicular trafficking. The cellular target of 1 is unknown, and a structure–activity relationship study was conducted in order to develop a strategy for target identification. A compound with midnanomolar potency was identified (2), and three photoaffinity labels were synthesized (3–5). For this series, the expected photochemistry of the phenyl azide moiety is a more important factor than the IC50 of the photoprobe in obtaining a successful photolabeling event. While 3 was the most effective reversible inhibitor of the series, it provided no protection to cells against anthrax lethal toxin (LT) following UV irradiation. Conversely, 5, which possessed weak bioactivity in the standard assay, conferred robust irreversible protection vs LT to cells upon UV photolysis. PMID:24900841

  16. Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 Is Essential for Arteriogenesis in a Mouse Model of Hindlimb Ischemia

    PubMed Central

    Andersen, N. J.; Boguslawski, E. A.; Naidu, A. S.; Szot, C.; Bromberg-White, J. L.; Kits, K.; Kuk, C. Y.; Holton, L. E.; St. Croix, B.; Chambers, C. M.; Duesbery, N. S.

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin receptor 1/tumor endothelial marker 8 (Antxr1 or TEM8) is up-regulated in tumor vasculature and serves as a receptor for anthrax toxin, but its physiologic function is unclear. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of Antxr1 in arteriogenesis. The role of Antxr1 in arteriogenesis was tested by measuring gene expression and immunohistochemistry in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia using wild-type and ANTXR1-/- mice. Additional tests were performed by measuring gene expression in in vitro models of fluid shear stress and hypoxia, as well as in human muscle tissues obtained from patients having peripheral artery disease. We observed that Antxr1 expression transiently increased in ischemic tissues following femoral artery ligation and that its expression was necessary for arteriogenesis. In the absence of Antxr1, the mean arterial lumen area in ischemic tissues decreased. Antxr1 mRNA and protein expression was positively regulated by fluid shear stress, but not by hypoxia. Furthermore, Antxr1 expression was elevated in human peripheral artery disease requiring lower extremity bypass surgery. These findings demonstrate an essential physiologic role for Antxr1 in arteriogenesis and peripheral artery disease, with important implications for managing ischemia and other arteriogenesis-dependent vascular diseases. PMID:26785120

  17. Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 Is Essential for Arteriogenesis in a Mouse Model of Hindlimb Ischemia.

    PubMed

    Andersen, N J; Boguslawski, E A; Naidu, A S; Szot, C; Bromberg-White, J L; Kits, K; Kuk, C Y; Holton, L E; St Croix, B; Chambers, C M; Duesbery, N S

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin receptor 1/tumor endothelial marker 8 (Antxr1 or TEM8) is up-regulated in tumor vasculature and serves as a receptor for anthrax toxin, but its physiologic function is unclear. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of Antxr1 in arteriogenesis. The role of Antxr1 in arteriogenesis was tested by measuring gene expression and immunohistochemistry in a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia using wild-type and ANTXR1(-/-) mice. Additional tests were performed by measuring gene expression in in vitro models of fluid shear stress and hypoxia, as well as in human muscle tissues obtained from patients having peripheral artery disease. We observed that Antxr1 expression transiently increased in ischemic tissues following femoral artery ligation and that its expression was necessary for arteriogenesis. In the absence of Antxr1, the mean arterial lumen area in ischemic tissues decreased. Antxr1 mRNA and protein expression was positively regulated by fluid shear stress, but not by hypoxia. Furthermore, Antxr1 expression was elevated in human peripheral artery disease requiring lower extremity bypass surgery. These findings demonstrate an essential physiologic role for Antxr1 in arteriogenesis and peripheral artery disease, with important implications for managing ischemia and other arteriogenesis-dependent vascular diseases. PMID:26785120

  18. Reduction of immunogenicity of anthrax vaccines subjected to thermal stress, as measured by a toxin neutralization assay.

    PubMed

    Castelán-Vega, Juan; Corvette, Laura; Sirota, Lev; Arciniega, Juan

    2011-02-01

    We report that a toxin neutralization assay (TNA) can detect a decrease in the immunogenicity of anthrax vaccines as a consequence of brief exposure to elevated temperature. This attribute of TNA may help in adopting immunogenicity as a replacement of the current potency test, which involves protection from lethal challenge. PMID:21147935

  19. Reduction of Immunogenicity of Anthrax Vaccines Subjected to Thermal Stress, as Measured by a Toxin Neutralization Assay ▿

    PubMed Central

    Castelán-Vega, Juan; Corvette, Laura; Sirota, Lev; Arciniega, Juan

    2011-01-01

    We report that a toxin neutralization assay (TNA) can detect a decrease in the immunogenicity of anthrax vaccines as a consequence of brief exposure to elevated temperature. This attribute of TNA may help in adopting immunogenicity as a replacement of the current potency test, which involves protection from lethal challenge. PMID:21147935

  20. Auranofin Protects against Anthrax Lethal Toxin-Induced Activation of the Nlrp1b Inflammasome ▿

    PubMed Central

    Newman, Zachary L.; Sirianni, Nicole; Mawhinney, Christina; Lee, Margaret S.; Leppla, Stephen H.; Moayeri, Mahtab; Johansen, Lisa M.

    2011-01-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) is the major virulence factor for Bacillus anthracis. The lethal factor (LF) component of this bipartite toxin is a protease which, when transported into the cellular cytoplasm, cleaves mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) family proteins and induces rapid toxicity in mouse macrophages through activation of the Nlrp1b inflammasome. A high-throughput screen was performed to identify synergistic LT-inhibitory drug combinations from within a library of approved drugs and molecular probes. From this screen we discovered that auranofin, an organogold compound with anti-inflammatory activity, strongly inhibited LT-mediated toxicity in mouse macrophages. Auranofin did not inhibit toxin transport into cells or MEK cleavage but inhibited both LT-mediated caspase-1 activation and caspase-1 catalytic activity. Thus, auranofin inhibited LT-mediated toxicity by preventing activation of the Nlrp1b inflammasome and the downstream actions that occur in response to the toxin. Idebenone, an analog of coenzyme Q, synergized with auranofin to increase its protective effect. We found that idebenone functions as an inhibitor of voltage-gated potassium channels and thus likely mediates synergy through inhibition of the potassium fluxes which have been shown to be required for Nlrp1b inflammasome activation. PMID:21149629

  1. Hijacking multivesicular bodies enables long-term and exosome-mediated long-distance action of anthrax toxin

    PubMed Central

    Abrami, Laurence; Brandi, Lucia; Moayeri, Mahtab; Brown, Michael J.; Krantz, Bryan A.; Leppla, Stephen H.; van der Goot, F. G.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY Anthrax Lethal Toxin is a classical AB-toxin comprised of two components, Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF). Here we show that following assembly and endocytosis, PA forms a channel that translocates LF, not only into the cytosol, but also into the lumen of endosomal intraluminal vesicles (ILVs). These ILVs can fuse and release LF into the cytosol, where LF can proteolyze and disable host targets. We find that LF can persist in ILVs for days, fully sheltered from proteolytic degradation, both in vitro and in vivo. During this time ILV-localized LF can be transmitted to daughter cells upon cell division. In addition, LF-containing ILVs can be delivered to the extracellular medium as exosomes. These can deliver LF to the cytosol of naïve cells in a manner that is independent of the typical anthrax toxin-receptor trafficking pathway, while being sheltered from neutralizing extracellular factors of the immune system. PMID:24239351

  2. Anthrax lethal toxin disrupts intestinal barrier function and causes systemic infections with enteric bacteria.

    PubMed

    Sun, Chen; Fang, Hui; Xie, Tao; Auth, Roger D; Patel, Nayana; Murray, Patrick R; Snoy, Philip J; Frucht, David M

    2012-01-01

    A variety of intestinal pathogens have virulence factors that target mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways, including Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) has specific proteolytic activity against the upstream regulators of MAPKs, the MAPK kinases (MKKs). Using a murine model of intoxication, we show that LT causes the dose-dependent disruption of intestinal epithelial integrity, characterized by mucosal erosion, ulceration, and bleeding. This pathology correlates with an LT-dependent blockade of intestinal crypt cell proliferation, accompanied by marked apoptosis in the villus tips. C57BL/6J mice treated with intravenous LT nearly uniformly develop systemic infections with commensal enteric organisms within 72 hours of administration. LT-dependent intestinal pathology depends upon its proteolytic activity and is partially attenuated by co-administration of broad spectrum antibiotics, indicating that it is both a cause and an effect of infection. These findings indicate that targeting of MAPK signaling pathways by anthrax LT compromises the structural integrity of the mucosal layer, serving to undermine the effectiveness of the intestinal barrier. Combined with the well-described immunosuppressive effects of LT, this disruption of the intestinal barrier provides a potential mechanism for host invasion via the enteric route, a common portal of entry during the natural infection cycle of Bacillus anthracis. PMID:22438953

  3. Controlled release of an anthrax toxin-neutralizing antibody from hydrolytically degradable polyethylene glycol hydrogels.

    PubMed

    Liang, Yingkai; Coffin, Megan V; Manceva, Slobodanka D; Chichester, Jessica A; Jones, R Mark; Kiick, Kristi L

    2016-01-01

    In this study, hydrophilic and hydrolytically degradable poly (ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels were formed via Michael-type addition and employed for sustained delivery of a monoclonal antibody against the protective antigen of anthrax. Taking advantage of the PEG-induced precipitation of the antibody, burst release from the matrix was avoided. These hydrogels were able to release active antibodies in a controlled manner from 14 days to as long as 56 days in vitro by varying the polymer architectures and molecular weights of the precursors. Analysis of the secondary and tertiary structure and the in vitro activity of the released antibody showed that the encapsulation and release did not affect the protein conformation or functionality. The results suggest the promise for developing PEG-based carriers for sustained release of therapeutic antibodies against toxins in various applications. PMID:26223817

  4. Trapping a translocating protein within the anthrax toxin channel: implications for the secondary structure of permeating proteins

    PubMed Central

    Jennings-Antipov, Laura D.; Jakes, Karen S.; Finkelstein, Alan

    2011-01-01

    Anthrax toxin consists of three proteins: lethal factor (LF), edema factor (EF), and protective antigen (PA). This last forms a heptameric channel, (PA63)7, in the host cell’s endosomal membrane, allowing the former two (which are enzymes) to be translocated into the cytosol. (PA63)7 incorporated into planar bilayer membranes forms a channel that translocates LF and EF, with the N terminus leading the way. The channel is mushroom-shaped with a cap containing the binding sites for EF and LF, and an ∼100 Å–long, 15 Å–wide stem. For proteins to pass through the stem they clearly must unfold, but is secondary structure preserved? To answer this question, we developed a method of trapping the polypeptide chain of a translocating protein within the channel and determined the minimum number of residues that could traverse it. We attached a biotin to the N terminus of LFN (the 263-residue N-terminal portion of LF) and a molecular stopper elsewhere. If the distance from the N terminus to the stopper was long enough to traverse the channel, streptavidin added to the trans side bound the N-terminal biotin, trapping the protein within the channel; if this distance was not long enough, streptavidin did not bind the N-terminal biotin and the protein was not trapped. The trapping rate was dependent on the driving force (voltage), the length of time it was applied, and the number of residues between the N terminus and the stopper. By varying the position of the stopper, we determined the minimum number of residues required to span the channel. We conclude that LFN adopts an extended-chain configuration as it translocates; i.e., the channel unfolds the secondary structure of the protein. We also show that the channel not only can translocate LFN in the normal direction but also can, at least partially, translocate LFN in the opposite direction. PMID:21402886

  5. Recent Developments in Anti-dotes Against Anthrax.

    PubMed

    Dhasmana, Neha; Singh, Lalit K; Bhaduri, Asani; Misra, Richa; Singh, Yogendra

    2014-01-01

    The etiologic agent of disease anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, causes recurrent outbreaks among the livestock and intermittent infections in humans across the world. Controlling animal infections by vaccination can minimize the incidence of disease in humans. Prevention of anthrax in occupationally exposed personnel is achieved through vaccination with either live spores or precipitates of culture supernatants from attenuated strains of B. anthracis. However, anthrax vaccination of the large human population is impractical as well as inappropriate. Broad-range antibiotics like amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, streptomycin, and penicillin G are recommended for the treatment of human anthrax infections, but the threat of antibiotic resistant strains always remains. Moreover, in the absence of any specific symptom (s) during early infection, the diagnosis of anthrax is delayed causing elevated levels of anthrax toxin component which could be fatal. For these reasons, there is a need to develop new antimicrobial agents against virulent B. anthracis to effectively combat this fatal pathogen. Over the last two decades, extensive studies have been carried out to develop specific inhibitors against virulence factors of B. anthracis such as capsule, protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor. Research has also been focused in developing inhibitors of anthrax toxin receptors (including the use of receptor decoys) and host furin endoproteases which are required for activation of toxin. This review highlights the recent progress made in developing the diverse countermeasures for anthrax infections targeting B. anthracis virulence factors and their counterparts in host. PMID:25174439

  6. Charge Requirements for Proton Gradient-driven Translocation of Anthrax Toxin*

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Michael J.; Thoren, Katie L.; Krantz, Bryan A.

    2011-01-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin is used as a model system to study protein translocation. The toxin is composed of a translocase channel, called protective antigen (PA), and an enzyme, called lethal factor (LF). A proton gradient (ΔpH) can drive LF unfolding and translocation through PA channels; however, the mechanism of ΔpH-mediated force generation, substrate unfolding, and establishment of directionality are poorly understood. One recent hypothesis suggests that the ΔpH may act through changes in the protonation state of residues in the substrate. Here we report the charge requirements of LF's amino-terminal binding domain (LFN) using planar lipid bilayer electrophysiology. We found that acidic residues are required in LFN to utilize a proton gradient for translocation. Constructs lacking negative charges in the unstructured presequence of LFN translocate independently of the ΔpH driving force. Acidic residues markedly increase the rate of ΔpH-driven translocation, and the presequence is optimized in its natural acidic residue content for efficient ΔpH-driven unfolding and translocation. We discuss a ΔpH-driven charge state Brownian ratchet mechanism for translocation, where glutamic and aspartic acid residues in the substrate are the “molecular teeth” of the ratchet. Our Brownian ratchet model includes a mechanism for unfolding and a novel role for positive charges, which we propose chaperone negative charges through the PA channel during ΔpH translocation. PMID:21507946

  7. Delivery of Non-Native Cargo into Mammalian Cells Using Anthrax Lethal Toxin.

    PubMed

    Rabideau, Amy E; Pentelute, Bradley Lether

    2016-06-17

    The intracellular delivery of peptide and protein therapeutics is a major challenge due to the plasma membrane, which acts as a barrier between the extracellular environment and the intracellular milieu. Over the past two decades, a nontoxic PA/LFN delivery platform derived from anthrax lethal toxin has been developed for the transport of non-native cargo into the cytosol of cells in order to understand the translocation process through a protective antigen (PA) pore and to probe intracellular biological functions. Enzyme-mediated ligation using sortase A and native chemical ligation are two facile methods used to synthesize these non-native conjugates, inaccessible by recombinant technology. Cargo molecules that translocate efficiently include enzymes from protein toxins, antibody mimic proteins, and peptides of varying lengths and non-natural amino acid compositions. The PA pore has been found to effectively convey over 30 known cargos other than native lethal factor (LF; i.e., non-native) with diverse sequences and functionalities on the LFN transporter protein. All together these studies demonstrated that non-native cargos must adopt an unfolded or extended conformation and contain a suitable charge composition in order to efficiently pass through the PA pore. This review provides insight into design parameters for the efficient delivery of new cargos using PA and LFN. PMID:27055654

  8. Anthrax infection.

    PubMed

    Sweeney, Daniel A; Hicks, Caitlin W; Cui, Xizhong; Li, Yan; Eichacker, Peter Q

    2011-12-15

    Bacillus anthracis infection is rare in developed countries. However, recent outbreaks in the United States and Europe and the potential use of the bacteria for bioterrorism have focused interest on it. Furthermore, although anthrax was known to typically occur as one of three syndromes related to entry site of (i.e., cutaneous, gastrointestinal, or inhalational), a fourth syndrome including severe soft tissue infection in injectional drug users is emerging. Although shock has been described with cutaneous anthrax, it appears much more common with gastrointestinal, inhalational (5 of 11 patients in the 2001 outbreak in the United States), and injectional anthrax. Based in part on case series, the estimated mortalities of cutaneous, gastrointestinal, inhalational, and injectional anthrax are 1%, 25 to 60%, 46%, and 33%, respectively. Nonspecific early symptomatology makes initial identification of anthrax cases difficult. Clues to anthrax infection include history of exposure to herbivore animal products, heroin use, or clustering of patients with similar respiratory symptoms concerning for a bioterrorist event. Once anthrax is suspected, the diagnosis can usually be made with Gram stain and culture from blood or surgical specimens followed by confirmatory testing (e.g., PCR or immunohistochemistry). Although antibiotic therapy (largely quinolone-based) is the mainstay of anthrax treatment, the use of adjunctive therapies such as anthrax toxin antagonists is a consideration. PMID:21852539

  9. Anthrax Infection

    PubMed Central

    Sweeney, Daniel A.; Hicks, Caitlin W.; Cui, Xizhong; Li, Yan

    2011-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis infection is rare in developed countries. However, recent outbreaks in the United States and Europe and the potential use of the bacteria for bioterrorism have focused interest on it. Furthermore, although anthrax was known to typically occur as one of three syndromes related to entry site of (i.e., cutaneous, gastrointestinal, or inhalational), a fourth syndrome including severe soft tissue infection in injectional drug users is emerging. Although shock has been described with cutaneous anthrax, it appears much more common with gastrointestinal, inhalational (5 of 11 patients in the 2001 outbreak in the United States), and injectional anthrax. Based in part on case series, the estimated mortalities of cutaneous, gastrointestinal, inhalational, and injectional anthrax are 1%, 25 to 60%, 46%, and 33%, respectively. Nonspecific early symptomatology makes initial identification of anthrax cases difficult. Clues to anthrax infection include history of exposure to herbivore animal products, heroin use, or clustering of patients with similar respiratory symptoms concerning for a bioterrorist event. Once anthrax is suspected, the diagnosis can usually be made with Gram stain and culture from blood or surgical specimens followed by confirmatory testing (e.g., PCR or immunohistochemistry). Although antibiotic therapy (largely quinolone-based) is the mainstay of anthrax treatment, the use of adjunctive therapies such as anthrax toxin antagonists is a consideration. PMID:21852539

  10. Constitutive MEK1 activation rescues anthrax lethal toxin-induced vascular effects in vivo.

    PubMed

    Bolcome, Robert E; Chan, Joanne

    2010-12-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) increases vascular leakage in a number of mammalian models and in human anthrax disease. Using a zebrafish model, we determined that vascular delivery of LT increased permeability, which was phenocopied by treatment with a selective chemical inhibitor of MEK1 and MEK2 (also known as mitogen-activated protein kinase [MAPK] kinase, MEK, or MKK). Here we investigate further the role of MEK1/phospho-ERK (pERK) in the action of LT. Overexpression of wild-type zebrafish MEK1 at high levels did not induce detrimental effects. However, a constitutively activated version, MEK1(S219D,S223D) (MEK1DD), induced early defects in embryonic development that correlated with increased ERK/MAPK phosphorylation. To bypass these early developmental defects and to provide a genetic tool for examining the action of lethal factor (LF), we generated inducible transgenic zebrafish lines expressing either wild-type or activated MEK1 under the control of a heat shock promoter. Remarkably, induction of MEK1DD transgene expression prior to LT delivery prevented vascular damage, while the wild-type MEK1 line did not. In the presence of both LT and MEK1DD transgene expression, cardiovascular development and function proceeded normally in most embryos. The resistance to microsphere leakage in transgenic animals demonstrated a protective role against LT-induced vascular permeability. A consistent increase in ERK phosphorylation among LT-resistant MEK1DD transgenic animals provided additional confirmation of transgene activation. These findings provide a novel genetic approach to examine mechanism of action of LT in vivo through one of its known targets. This approach may be generally applied to investigate additional pathogen-host interactions and to provide mechanistic insights into host signaling pathways affected by pathogen entry. PMID:20855511

  11. Temperature-mediated recombinant anthrax protective antigen aggregate development: Implications for toxin formation and immunogenicity.

    PubMed

    Amador-Molina, Juan C; Valerdi-Madrigal, Esther D; Domínguez-Castillo, Rocío I; Sirota, Lev A; Arciniega, Juan L

    2016-07-29

    Anthrax vaccines containing recombinant PA (rPA) as the only antigen face a stability issue: rPA forms aggregates in solution after exposure to temperatures ⩾40°C, thus losing its ability to form lethal toxin (LeTx) with Lethal Factor. To study rPA aggregation's impact on immune response, we subjected rPA to several time and temperature combinations. rPA treated at 50°C for 30min formed high mass aggregates when analyzed by gel electrophoresis and failed to form LeTx as measured by a macrophage lysis assay (MLA). Aggregated rPA-formed LeTx was about 30 times less active than LeTx containing native rPA. Mice immunized with heat-treated rPA combined with Al(OH)3 developed antibody titers about 49 times lower than mice immunized with native rPA, as measured by a Toxicity Neutralization Assay (TNA). Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) of the same immune sera showed anti-rPA titers only 2-7 times lower than titers elicited by native rPA. Thus, rPA's ability to form LeTx correlates with its production of neutralizing antibodies, and aggregation significantly impairs the protein's antibody response. However, while these findings suggest MLA has some value as an in-process quality test for rPA in new anthrax vaccines, they also confirm the superiority of TNA for use in vaccine potency. PMID:27364097

  12. Edema

    MedlinePlus

    Edema means swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles ... it can involve your entire body. Causes of edema include Eating too much salt Sunburn Heart failure ...

  13. Solubilization and characterization of the anthrax toxin pore in detergent micelles

    PubMed Central

    Vernier, Gregory; Wang, Jie; Jennings, Laura D; Sun, Jianjun; Fischer, Audrey; Song, Likai; Collier, R John

    2009-01-01

    Proteolytically activated Protective Antigen (PA) moiety of anthrax toxin self-associates to form a heptameric ring-shaped oligomer (the prepore). Acidic pH within the endosome converts the prepore to a pore that serves as a passageway for the toxin's enzymatic moieties to cross the endosomal membrane. Prepore is stable in solution under mildly basic conditions, and lowering the pH promotes a conformational transition to an insoluble pore-like state. N-tetradecylphosphocholine (FOS14) was the only detergent among 110 tested that prevented aggregation without dissociating the multimer into its constituent subunits. FOS14 maintained the heptamers as monodisperse, insertion-competent 440-kDa particles, which formed channels in planar phospholipid bilayers with the same unitary conductance and ability to translocate a model substrate protein as channels formed in the absence of detergent. Electron paramagnetic resonance analysis detected pore-like conformational changes within PA on solubilization with FOS14, and electron micrograph images of FOS14-solubilized pore showed an extended, mushroom-shaped structure. Circular dichroïsm measurements revealed an increase in α helix and a decrease in β structure in pore formation. Spectral changes caused by a deletion mutation support the hypothesis that the 2β2-2β3 loop transforms into the transmembrane segment of the β-barrel stem of the pore. Changes caused by selected point mutations indicate that the transition to α structure is dependent on residues of the luminal 2β11-2β12 loop that are known to affect pore formation. Stabilizing the PA pore in solution with FOS14 may facilitate further structural analysis and a more detailed understanding of the folding pathway by which the pore is formed. PMID:19609933

  14. An anthrax toxin variant with an improved activity in tumor targeting

    PubMed Central

    Wein, Alexander N.; Peters, Diane E.; Valivullah, Zaheer; Hoover, Benjamin J.; Tatineni, Aparna; Ma, Qian; Fattah, Rasem; Bugge, Thomas H.; Leppla, Stephen H.; Liu, Shihui

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) is an A-B type toxin secreted by Bacillus anthracis, consisting of the cellular binding moiety, protective antigen (PA), and the catalytic moiety, lethal factor (LF). To target cells, PA binds to cell-surface receptors and is then proteolytically processed forming a LF-binding competent PA oligomer where each LF binding site is comprised of three subsites on two adjacent PA monomers. We previously generated PA-U2-R200A, a urokinase-activated PA variant with LF-binding subsite II residue Arg200 mutated to Ala, and PA-L1-I210A, a matrix metalloproteinase-activated PA variant with subsite III residue Ile210 mutated to Ala. PA-U2-R200A and PA-L1-I210A displayed reduced cytotoxicity when used singly. However, when combined, they formed LF-binding competent heterogeneous oligomers by intermolecular complementation, and achieved high specificity in tumor targeting. Nevertheless, each of these proteins, in particular PA-L1-I210A, retained residual LF-binding ability. In this work, we screened a library containing all possible amino acid substitutions for LF-binding site to find variants with activity strictly dependent upon intermolecular complementation. PA-I207R was identified as an excellent replacement for the original clockwise-side variant, PA-I210A. Consequently, the new combination of PA-L1-I207R and PA-U2-R200A showed potent anti-tumor activity and low toxicity, exceeding the performance of the original combination, and warranting further investigation. PMID:26584669

  15. Delivery of Antibody Mimics into Mammalian Cells via Anthrax Toxin Protective Antigen

    PubMed Central

    Liao, Xiaoli; Rabideau, Amy E; Pentelute, Bradley L

    2014-01-01

    Antibody mimics have significant scientific and therapeutic utility for the disruption of protein–protein interactions inside cells; however, their delivery to the cell cytosol remains a major challenge. Here we show that protective antigen (PA), a component of anthrax toxin, efficiently transports commonly used antibody mimics to the cytosol of mammalian cells when conjugated to the N-terminal domain of LF (LFN). In contrast, a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) was not able to deliver any of these antibody mimics into the cell cytosol. The refolding and binding of a transported tandem monobody to Bcr-Abl (its protein target) in chronic myeloid leukemia cells were confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. We also observed inhibition of Bcr-Abl kinase activity and induction of apoptosis caused by the monobody. In a separate case, we show disruption of key interactions in the MAPK signaling pathway after PA-mediated delivery of an affibody binder that targets hRaf-1. We show for the first time that PA can deliver bioactive antibody mimics to disrupt intracellular protein–protein interactions. This technology adds a useful tool to expand the applications of these modern agents to the intracellular milieu. PMID:25250705

  16. The Cytoplasmic Domain of Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 Affects Binding of the Protective Antigen▿

    PubMed Central

    Go, Mandy Y.; Chow, Edith M. C.; Mogridge, Jeremy

    2009-01-01

    The protective antigen (PA) component of anthrax toxin binds the I domain of the receptor ANTXR1. Integrin I domains convert between open and closed conformations that bind ligand with high and low affinities, respectively; this process is regulated by signaling from the cytoplasmic domains. To assess whether intracellular signals might influence the interaction between ANTXR1 and PA, we compared two splice variants of ANTXR1 that differ only in their cytoplasmic domains. We found that cells expressing ANTXR1 splice variant 1 (ANTXR1-sv1) bound markedly less PA than did cells expressing a similar level of the shorter splice variant ANTXR1-sv2. ANTXR1-sv1 but not ANTXR1-sv2 associated with the actin cytoskeleton, although disruption of the cytoskeleton did not affect binding of ANTXR-sv1 to PA. Introduction of a cytoplasmic domain missense mutation found in the related receptor ANTXR2 in a patient with juvenile hyaline fibromatosis impaired actin association and increased binding of PA to ANTXR1-sv1. These results suggest that ANTXR1 has two affinity states that may be modulated by cytoplasmic signals. PMID:18936178

  17. Differential Dependence on N-Glycosylation of Anthrax Toxin Receptors CMG2 and TEM8

    PubMed Central

    Friebe, Sarah; Deuquet, Julie; van der Goot, F. Gisou

    2015-01-01

    ANTXR 1 and 2, also known as TEM8 and CMG2, are two type I membrane proteins, which have been extensively studied for their role as anthrax toxin receptors, but with a still elusive physiological function. Here we have analyzed the importance of N-glycosylation on folding, trafficking and ligand binding of these closely related proteins. We find that TEM8 has a stringent dependence on N-glycosylation. The presence of at least one glycan on each of its two extracellular domains, the vWA and Ig-like domains, is indeed necessary for efficient trafficking to the cell surface. In the absence of any N-linked glycans, TEM8 fails to fold correctly and is recognized by the ER quality control machinery. Expression of N-glycosylation mutants reveals that CMG2 is less vulnerable to sugar loss. The absence of N-linked glycans in one of the extracellular domains indeed has little impact on folding, trafficking or receptor function of the wild type protein expressed in tissue culture cells. N-glycans do, however, seem required in primary fibroblasts from human patients. Here, the presence of N-linked sugars increases the tolerance to mutations in cmg2 causing the rare genetic disease Hyaline Fibromatosis Syndrome. It thus appears that CMG2 glycosylation provides a buffer towards genetic variation by promoting folding of the protein in the ER lumen. PMID:25781883

  18. Electrochemical DNA sensor for anthrax toxin activator gene atxA-detection of PCR amplicons.

    PubMed

    Das, Ritu; Goel, Ajay K; Sharma, Mukesh K; Upadhyay, Sanjay

    2015-12-15

    We report the DNA probe functionalized electrochemical genosensor for the detection of Bacillus anthracis, specific towards the regulatory gene atxA. The DNA sensor is fabricated on electrochemically deposited gold nanoparticle on self assembled layer of (3-Mercaptopropyl) trimethoxysilane (MPTS) on GC electrode. DNA hybridization is monitored by differential pulse voltammogram (DPV). The modified GC electrode is characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), cyclic voltammetry (CV), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) method. We also quantified the DNA probe density on electrode surface by the chronocoulometric method. The detection is specific and selective for atxA gene by DNA probe on the electrode surface. No report is available for the detection of B. anthracis by using atxA an anthrax toxin activator gene. In the light of real and complex sample, we have studied the PCR amplicons of 303, 361 and 568 base pairs by using symmetric and asymmetric PCR approaches. The DNA probe of atxA gene efficiently hybridizes with different base pairs of PCR amplicons. The detection limit is found to be 1.0 pM (S/N ratio=3). The results indicate that the DNA sensor is able to detect synthetic target as well as PCR amplicons of different base pairs. PMID:26257186

  19. Anthrax lethal toxin and the induction of CD4 T cell immunity.

    PubMed

    Ascough, Stephanie; Ingram, Rebecca J; Altmann, Daniel M

    2012-10-01

    Bacillus anthracis secretes exotoxins which act through several mechanisms including those that can subvert adaptive immunity with respect both to antigen presenting cell and T cell function. The combination of Protective Antigen (PA) and Lethal Factor (LF) forming Lethal Toxin (LT), acts within host cells to down-regulate the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascade. Until recently the MAPK kinases were the only known substrate for LT; over the past few years it has become evident that LT also cleaves Nlrp1, leading to inflammasome activation and macrophage death. The predicted downstream consequences of subverting these important cellular pathways are impaired antigen presentation and adaptive immunity. In contrast to this, recent work has indicated that robust memory T cell responses to B. anthracis antigens can be identified following natural anthrax infection. We discuss how LT affects the adaptive immune response and specifically the identification of B. anthracis epitopes that are both immunogenic and protective with the potential for inclusion in protein sub-unit based vaccines. PMID:23162703

  20. Anthrax Lethal Toxin Induces Acute Diastolic Dysfunction in Rats Through Disruption of the Phospholamban Signaling Network

    PubMed Central

    Golden, Honey B.; Watson, Linley E.; Nizamutdinov, Damir; Feng, Hao; Gerilechaogetu, Fnu; Lal, Hind; Verma, Suresh K.; Mukhopadhyay, Swagoto; Foster, Donald M.; Dillmann, Wolfgang H.; Dostal, D.E.

    2013-01-01

    Background Anthrax lethal toxin (LT), secreted by Bacillus anthracis, causes severe cardiac dysfunction by unknown mechanisms. LT specifically cleaves the docking domains of MAPKK (MEKs); thus, we hypothesized that LT directly impairs cardiac function through dysregulation of MAPK signaling mechanisms. Methods and Results In a time-course study of LT toxicity, echocardiography revealed acute diastolic heart failure accompanied by pulmonary regurgitation and left atrial dilation in adult Sprague-Dawley rats at time points corresponding to dysregulated JNK, phospholamban (PLB) and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) myocardial signaling. Using isolated rat ventricular myocytes, we identified the MEK7-JNK1-PP2A-PLB signaling axis to be important for regulation of intracellular calcium (Ca2+i) handling, PP2A activation and targeting of PP2A-B56α to Ca2+i handling proteins, such as PLB. Through a combination of gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies, we demonstrated that over-expression of MEK7 protects against LT-induced PP2A activation and Ca2+i dysregulation through activation of JNK1. Moreover, targeted phosphorylation of PLB-Thr17 by Akt improved sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+i release and reuptake during LT toxicity. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments further revealed the pivotal role of MEK7-JNK-Akt complex formation for phosphorylation of PLB-Thr17 during acute LT toxicity. Conclusions Our findings support a cardiogenic mechanism of LT-induced diastolic dysfunction, by which LT disrupts JNK1 signaling and results in Ca2+i dysregulation through diminished phosphorylation of PLB by Akt and increased dephosphorylation of PLB by PP2A. Integration of the MEK7-JNK1 signaling module with Akt represents an important stress-activated signalosome that may confer protection to sustain cardiac contractility and maintain normal levels of Ca2+i through PLB-T17 phosphorylation. PMID:23907041

  1. Nonallergic Eyelid Edema After Botulinum Toxin Type A Injection: Case Report and Review of Literature.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yin-Shuo; Chang, Chang-Cheng; Shen, Jen-Hsiang; Chen, Yu-Tsung; Chan, Karen Kar-Wun

    2015-09-01

    Periocular botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA) injections are generally safe. Ptosis is the most common adverse effect, whereas eyelid edema is rarely reported. There is no consensus on the latter's incidence, clinical course, or treatment strategy. Here we managed a 59-year-old woman who received BoNTA injections to her forehead, glabella, and eye corner. At 3-day follow-up, she presented with painless, nonpruritic, bilateral periorbital edema, and erythema. Preliminary diagnosis was a local allergic reaction, and topical corticosteroid was administered, but upon lack of improvement, edema secondary to venous and lymphatic congestion was hypothesized, and she was advised to apply hot pads over her eyes, blink frequently, and massage the area. Her eyelid edema resolved 2 weeks later. At 4-month follow-up, the patient requested and received another course of BoNTA at half the dose. Frequent blinking was instructed, and the patient reported a satisfactory outcome with no adverse effects. In our literature review, incidence of BoNTA-induced eyelid edema was 1.4% and showed Asian tendency. Although rare, BoNTA-induced periorbital edema is self-limiting, and normally resolves in 2 to 4 weeks without medical treatment. Patients at risk for edema, including Asian ethnicity, dermatochalasis, and poor periocular muscle tone, are advised to receive injections at half the dosage. Examination of the function and tone of the orbicularis oculi and levator palpebrae superioris muscles before treatment is recommended, and application of hot pads over the eyes, frequent blinking in the morning, and self-massage of the affected area to increase venous return have demonstrated to improve outcome. PMID:26402825

  2. Genetically modified anthrax lethal toxin safely delivers whole HIV protein antigens into the cytosol to induce T cell immunity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Yichen; Friedman, Rachel; Kushner, Nicholas; Doling, Amy; Thomas, Lawrence; Touzjian, Neal; Starnbach, Michael; Lieberman, Judy

    2000-07-01

    Bacillus anthrax lethal toxin can be engineered to deliver foreign proteins to the cytosol for antigen presentation to CD8 T cells. Vaccination with modified toxins carrying 8-9 amino acid peptide epitopes induces protective immunity in mice. To evaluate whether large protein antigens can be used with this system, recombinant constructs encoding several HIV antigens up to 500 amino acids were produced. These candidate HIV vaccines are safe in animals and induce CD8 T cells in mice. Constructs encoding gag p24 and nef stimulate gag-specific CD4 proliferation and a secondary cytotoxic T lymphocyte response in HIV-infected donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. These results lay the foundation for future clinical vaccine studies.

  3. Genetically modified anthrax lethal toxin safely delivers whole HIV protein antigens into the cytosol to induce T cell immunity

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Yichen; Friedman, Rachel; Kushner, Nicholas; Doling, Amy; Thomas, Lawrence; Touzjian, Neal; Starnbach, Michael; Lieberman, Judy

    2000-01-01

    Bacillus anthrax lethal toxin can be engineered to deliver foreign proteins to the cytosol for antigen presentation to CD8 T cells. Vaccination with modified toxins carrying 8–9 amino acid peptide epitopes induces protective immunity in mice. To evaluate whether large protein antigens can be used with this system, recombinant constructs encoding several HIV antigens up to 500 amino acids were produced. These candidate HIV vaccines are safe in animals and induce CD8 T cells in mice. Constructs encoding gag p24 and nef stimulate gag-specific CD4 proliferation and a secondary cytotoxic T lymphocyte response in HIV-infected donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. These results lay the foundation for future clinical vaccine studies. PMID:10884430

  4. Disarmed anthrax toxin delivers antisense oligonucleotides and siRNA with high efficiency and low toxicity.

    PubMed

    Dyer, Paul D R; Shepherd, Thomas R; Gollings, Alexander S; Shorter, Susan A; Gorringe-Pattrick, Monique A M; Tang, Chun-Kit; Cattoz, Beatrice N; Baillie, Les; Griffiths, Peter C; Richardson, Simon C W

    2015-12-28

    Inefficient cytosolic delivery and vector toxicity contribute to the limited use of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and siRNA as therapeutics. As anthrax toxin (Atx) accesses the cytosol, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of disarmed Atx to deliver either ASOs or siRNA. We hypothesized that this delivery strategy would facilitate improved transfection efficiency while eliminating the toxicity seen for many vectors due to membrane destabilization. Atx complex formation with ASOs or siRNA was achieved via the in-frame fusion of either Saccharomyces cerevisiae GAL4 or Homo sapien sapien PKR (respectively) to a truncation of Atx lethal factor (LFn), which were used with Atx protective antigen (PA). Western immunoblotting confirmed the production of: LFN-GAL4, LFn-PKR and PA which were detected at ~45.9 kDa, ~37 kDa, and ~83 kDa respectively and small angle neutron scattering confirmed the ability of PA to form an annular structure with a radius of gyration of 7.0 ± 1.0 nm when placed in serum. In order to form a complex with LFn-GAL4, ASOs were engineered to contain a double-stranded region, and a cell free in vitro translation assay demonstrated that no loss of antisense activity above 30 pmol ASO was evident. The in vitro toxicity of both PA:LFn-GAL4:ASO and PA:LFn-PKR:siRNA complexes was low (IC50>100 μg/mL in HeLa and Vero cells) and subcellular fractionation in conjunction with microscopy confirmed the detection of LFn-GAL4 or LFn-PKR in the cytosol. Syntaxin5 (Synt5) was used as a model target gene to determine pharmacological activity. The PA:LFn-GAL4:ASO complexes had transfection efficiency approximately equivalent to Nucleofection® over a variety of ASO concentrations (24h post-transfection) and during a 72 h time course. In HeLa cells, at 200 pmol ASO (with PA:LFN-GAL4), 5.4 ± 2.0% Synt5 expression was evident relative to an untreated control after 24h. Using 200 pmol ASOs, Nucleofection® reduced Synt5 expression to 8.1 ± 2

  5. Micropatterned Macrophage Analysis Reveals Global Cytoskeleton Constraints Induced by Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Trescos, Yannick; Tessier, Emilie; Rougeaux, Clémence; Goossens, Pierre L.

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis secretes the edema toxin (ET) that disrupts the cellular physiology of endothelial and immune cells, ultimately affecting the adherens junction integrity of blood vessels that in turn leads to edema. The effects of ET on the cytoskeleton, which is critical in cell physiology, have not been described thus far on macrophages. In this study, we have developed different adhesive micropatterned surfaces (L and crossbow) to control the shape of bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) and primary peritoneal macrophages. We found that macrophage F-actin cytoskeleton adopts a specific polar organization slightly different from classical human HeLa cells on the micropatterns. Moreover, ET induced a major quantitative reorganization of F-actin within 16 h with a collapse at the nonadhesive side of BMDMs along the nucleus. There was an increase in size and deformation into a kidney-like shape, followed by a decrease in size that correlates with a global cellular collapse. The collapse of F-actin was correlated with a release of focal adhesion on the patterns and decreased cell size. Finally, the cell nucleus was affected by actin reorganization. By using this technology, we could describe many previously unknown macrophage cellular dysfunctions induced by ET. This novel tool could be used to analyze more broadly the effects of toxins and other virulence factors that target the cytoskeleton. PMID:26015478

  6. Anthrax Toxin Protective Antigen: Inhibition of Channel Function by Chloroquine and Related Compounds and Study of Binding Kinetics Using the Current Noise Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Orlik, Frank; Schiffler, Bettina; Benz, Roland

    2005-01-01

    Protective antigen (PA) of the tripartite anthrax toxin binds to a cell surface receptor and mediates the transport of two enzymatic components, edema factor and lethal factor, into the cytosol of host cells. Here recombinant PA63 from Bacillus anthracis was reconstituted into artificial lipid bilayer membranes and formed ion permeable channels. The heptameric PA63-channel contains a binding site for 4-aminoquinolones, which block ion transport through PA in vitro. This result allowed a detailed investigation of ligand binding and the stability constants for the binding of chloroquine, fluphenazine, and quinacrine to the binding site inside the PA63-channel were determined using titration experiments. Open PA63-channels exhibit 1/f noise in the frequency range between 1 and 100 Hz, whereas the spectral density of the ligand-induced current noise was of Lorentzian type. The analysis of the power density spectra allowed the evaluation of the on- and off-rate constants (\\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \\usepackage{amsmath} \\usepackage{wasysym} \\usepackage{amsfonts} \\usepackage{amssymb} \\usepackage{amsbsy} \\usepackage{mathrsfs} \\setlength{\\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \\begin{document} \\begin{equation*}k_{1}\\end{equation*}\\end{document} and \\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \\usepackage{amsmath} \\usepackage{wasysym} \\usepackage{amsfonts} \\usepackage{amssymb} \\usepackage{amsbsy} \\usepackage{mathrsfs} \\setlength{\\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \\begin{document} \\begin{equation*}k_{-1}\\end{equation*}\\end{document}) of ligand binding. The on-rate constants of ligand binding were between 106 and 108 M−1 s−1 and were dependent on the ionic strength of the aqueous phase, sidedness of ligand addition, as well as the orientation and intensity of the applied electric field. The off-rates varied between ∼10 s−1 and 2600 s−1 and depended mainly on the structure of the ligand. PMID:15596516

  7. Affinity binding of antibodies to supermacroporous cryogel adsorbents with immobilized protein A for removal of anthrax toxin protective antigen.

    PubMed

    Ingavle, Ganesh C; Baillie, Les W J; Zheng, Yishan; Lis, Elzbieta K; Savina, Irina N; Howell, Carol A; Mikhalovsky, Sergey V; Sandeman, Susan R

    2015-05-01

    Polymeric cryogels are efficient carriers for the immobilization of biomolecules because of their unique macroporous structure, permeability, mechanical stability and different surface chemical functionalities. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the potential use of macroporous monolithic cryogels for biotoxin removal using anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA), the central cell-binding component of the anthrax exotoxins, and covalent immobilization of monoclonal antibodies. The affinity ligand (protein A) was chemically coupled to the reactive hydroxyl and epoxy-derivatized monolithic cryogels and the binding efficiencies of protein A, monoclonal antibodies to the cryogel column were determined. Our results show differences in the binding capacity of protein A as well as monoclonal antibodies to the cryogel adsorbents caused by ligand concentrations, physical properties and morphology of surface matrices. The cytotoxicity potential of the cryogels was determined by an in vitro viability assay using V79 lung fibroblast as a model cell and the results reveal that the cryogels are non-cytotoxic. Finally, the adsorptive capacities of PA from phosphate buffered saline (PBS) were evaluated towards a non-glycosylated, plant-derived human monoclonal antibody (PANG) and a glycosylated human monoclonal antibody (Valortim(®)), both of which were covalently attached via protein A immobilization. Optimal binding capacities of 108 and 117 mg/g of antibody to the adsorbent were observed for PANG attached poly(acrylamide-allyl glycidyl ether) [poly(AAm-AGE)] and Valortim(®) attached poly(AAm-AGE) cryogels, respectively, This indicated that glycosylation status of Valortim(®) antibody could significantly increase (8%) its binding capacity relative to the PANG antibody on poly(AAm-AGE)-protien-A column (p < 0.05). The amounts of PA which remained in the solution after passing PA spiked PBS through PANG or Valortim bound poly(AAm-AGE) cryogel were significantly (p < 0

  8. Anthrax Toxin Receptor 1 / Tumor Endothelial Marker 8: Mutation of Conserved Inserted Domain Residues Overrides Cytosolic Control of Protective Antigen Binding†

    PubMed Central

    Ramey, Jordan D.; Villareal, Valerie A.; Ng, Charles; Ward, Sabrina; Xiong, Jian-Ping; Clubb, Robert T.; Bradley, Kenneth A.

    2010-01-01

    Anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1) / tumor endothelial marker 8 (TEM8) is one of two known proteinaceous cell surface anthrax toxin receptors. A metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) present in the integrin-like inserted (I) domain of ANTXR1 mediates the binding of the anthrax toxin subunit, protective antigen (PA). Here we provide evidence that single point mutations in the I domain can override regulation of ANTXR1 ligand-binding activity mediated by intracellular signals. A previously reported MIDAS-mutant of ANTXR1 (T118A) was found to retain normal metal ion binding and secondary structure but failed to bind PA, consistent with a locked inactive state. Conversely, mutation of a conserved I domain phenylalanine residue to a tryptophan (F205W) increased the proportion of cell-surface ANTXR1 that bound PA, consistent with a locked active state. Interestingly, the KD and total amount of PA bound by the isolated ANTXR1 I domain was not affected by the F205W mutation, indicating that ANTXR1 is preferentially found in the active state in the absence of inside-out signaling. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy and 1H-15N heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) revealed that structural changes between T118A, F205W and WT I domains were minor despite a greater than 103-fold difference in their abilities to bind toxin. Regulation of toxin binding has important implications for the design of toxin inhibitors and for the targeting of ANTXR1 for anti-tumor therapies. PMID:20690680

  9. Anthrax of the gastrointestinal tract.

    PubMed

    Sirisanthana, Thira; Brown, Arthur E

    2002-07-01

    When swallowed, anthrax spores may cause lesions from the oral cavity to the cecum. Gastrointestinal anthrax is greatly underreported in rural disease-endemic areas of the world. The apparent paucity of this form of anthrax reflects the lack of facilities able to make the diagnosis in these areas. The spectrum of disease, ranging from subclinical infection to death, has not been fully recognized. In some community-based studies, cases of gastrointestinal anthrax outnumbered those of cutaneous anthrax. The oropharyngeal variant, in particular, is unfamiliar to most physicians. The clinical features of oropharyngeal anthrax include fever and toxemia, inflammatory lesion(s) in the oral cavity or oropharynx, enlargement of cervical lymph nodes associated with edema of the soft tissue of the cervical area, and a high case-fatality rate. Awareness of gastrointestinal anthrax in a differential diagnosis remains important in anthrax-endemic areas but now also in settings of possible bioterrorism. PMID:12095428

  10. Ligand-induced expansion of the S1' site in the anthrax toxin lethal factor.

    PubMed

    Maize, Kimberly M; Kurbanov, Elbek K; Johnson, Rodney L; Amin, Elizabeth Ambrose; Finzel, Barry C

    2015-12-21

    The Bacillus anthracis lethal factor (LF) is one component of a tripartite exotoxin partly responsible for persistent anthrax cytotoxicity after initial bacterial infection. Inhibitors of the zinc metalloproteinase have been investigated as potential therapeutic agents, but LF is a challenging target because inhibitors lack sufficient selectivity or possess poor pharmaceutical properties. These structural studies reveal an alternate conformation of the enzyme, induced upon binding of specific inhibitors, that opens a previously unobserved deep pocket termed S1'(∗) which might afford new opportunities to design selective inhibitors that target this subsite. PMID:26578066

  11. Ligand-induced expansion of the S1' site in the anthrax toxin lethal factor

    SciTech Connect

    Maize, Kimberly M.; Kurbanov, Elbek K.; Johnson, Rodney L.; Amin, Elizabeth Ambrose; Finzel, Barry C.

    2015-11-11

    The Bacillus anthracis lethal factor (LF) is one component of a tripartite exotoxin partly responsible for persistent anthrax cytotoxicity after initial bacterial infection. Inhibitors of the zinc metalloproteinase have been investigated as potential therapeutic agents, but LF is a challenging target because inhibitors lack sufficient selectivity or possess poor pharmaceutical properties. These structural studies reveal an alternate conformation of the enzyme, induced upon binding of specific inhibitors, that opens a previously unobserved deep pocket termed S1'* which might afford new opportunities to design selective inhibitors that target this subsite.

  12. Anthrax: Diagnosis

    MedlinePlus

    ... Search The CDC Cancel Submit Search The CDC Anthrax Note: Javascript is disabled or is not supported ... message, please visit this page: About CDC.gov . Anthrax Basic Information Types of Anthrax Cutaneous Anthrax Inhalation ...

  13. Anthrax lethal toxin inhibits translation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α and causes decreased tolerance to hypoxic stress.

    PubMed

    Ouyang, Weiming; Torigoe, Chikako; Fang, Hui; Xie, Tao; Frucht, David M

    2014-02-14

    Hypoxia is considered to be a contributor to the pathology associated with administration of anthrax lethal toxin (LT). However, we report here that serum lactate levels in LT-treated mice are reduced, a finding inconsistent with the anaerobic metabolism expected to occur during hypoxia. Reduced lactate levels are also observed in the culture supernatants of LT-treated cells. LT inhibits the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, a subunit of HIF-1, the master regulator directing cellular responses to hypoxia. The toxin has no effect on the transcription or protein turnover of HIF-1α, but instead it acts to inhibit HIF-1α translation. LT treatment diminishes phosphorylation of eIF4B, eIF4E, and rpS6, critical components of the intracellular machinery required for HIF-1α translation. Moreover, blockade of MKK1/2-ERK1/2, but not p38 or JNK signaling, lowers HIF-1α protein levels in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions, consistent with a role for MKK1 and MKK2 as the major targets of LT responsible for the inhibition of HIF-1α translation. The physiological importance of the LT-induced translation blockade is demonstrated by the finding that LT treatment decreases the survival of hepatocyte cell lines grown in hypoxic conditions, an effect that is overcome by preinduction of HIF-1α. Taken together, these data support a role for LT in dysregulating HIF-1α and thereby disrupting homeostatic responses to hypoxia, an environmental characteristic of certain tissues at baseline and/or during disseminated infection with Bacillus anthracis. PMID:24366872

  14. Development of an edema factor-mediated cAMP-induction bioassay for detecting antibody-mediated neutralization of anthrax protective antigen.

    PubMed

    Zmuda, Jonathan F; Zhang, Linyi; Richards, Terri; Pham, Quyen; Zukauskas, David; Pierre, Jennifer L; Laird, Michael W; Askins, Janine; Choi, Gil H

    2005-03-01

    Intoxication of mammalian cells by Bacillus anthracis requires the coordinate activity of three distinct bacterial proteins: protective antigen (PA), edema factor (EF), and lethal factor (LF). Among these proteins, PA has become the major focus of work on monoclonal antibodies and vaccines designed to treat or prevent anthrax infection since neither EF nor LF is capable of inducing cellular toxicity in its absence. Here, we present the development of a sensitive, precise, and biologically relevant bioassay platform capable of quantifying antibody-mediated PA neutralization. This bioassay is based on the ability of PA to bind and shuttle EF, a bacterial adenylate cyclase, into mammalian cells leading to an increase in cAMP that can be quantified using a sensitive chemiluminescent ELISA. The results of this study indicate that the cAMP-induction assay possesses the necessary performance characteristics for use as both a potency-indicating release assay in a quality control setting and as a surrogate pharmacodynamic marker for ensuring the continued bioactivity of therapeutic antibodies against PA during clinical trials. PMID:15847796

  15. Passive Immunotherapy Protects against Enteric Invasion and Lethal Sepsis in a Murine Model of Gastrointestinal Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Bruce; Xie, Tao; Rotstein, David; Fang, Hui; Frucht, David M.

    2015-01-01

    The principal portal for anthrax infection in natural animal outbreaks is the digestive tract. Enteric exposure to anthrax, which is difficult to detect or prevent in a timely manner, could be exploited as an act of terror through contamination of human or animal food. Our group has developed a novel animal model of gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax for evaluation of disease pathogenesis and experimental therapeutics, utilizing vegetative Bacillus anthracis (Sterne strain) administered to A/J mice (a complement-deficient strain) by oral gavage. We hypothesized that a humanized recombinant monoclonal antibody (mAb) * that neutralizes the protective antigen (PA) component of B. anthracis lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET) could be an effective treatment. Although the efficacy of this anti-anthrax PA mAb has been shown in animal models of inhalational anthrax, its activity in GI infection had not yet been ascertained. We hereby demonstrate that passive immunotherapy with anti-anthrax PA mAb, administered at the same time as gastrointestinal exposure to B. anthracis, prevents lethal sepsis in nearly all cases (>90%), while a delay of up to forty-eight hours in treatment still greatly reduces mortality following exposure (65%). Moreover, passive immunotherapy protects against enteric invasion, associated mucosal injury and subsequent dissemination by gastrointestinal B. anthracis, indicating that it acts to prevent the initial stages of infection. * Expired raxibacumab being cycled off the Strategic National Stockpile; biological activity confirmed by in vitro assay. PMID:26426050

  16. Anthrax Lethal Toxin Impairs IL-8 Expression in Epithelial Cells through Inhibition of Histone H3 Modification

    PubMed Central

    Raymond, Benoit; Batsche, Eric; Boutillon, Florence; Wu, Yong-Zheng; Leduc, Dominique; Balloy, Viviane; Raoust, Eloïse; Muchardt, Christian; Goossens, Pierre L.; Touqui, Lhousseine

    2009-01-01

    Lethal toxin (LT) is a critical virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, whose pulmonary form is fatal in the absence of treatment. Inflammatory response is a key process of host defense against invading pathogens. We report here that intranasal instillation of a B. anthracis strain bearing inactive LT stimulates cytokine production and polymorphonuclear (PMN) neutrophils recruitment in lungs. These responses are repressed by a prior instillation of an LT preparation. In contrast, instillation of a B. anthracis strain expressing active LT represses lung inflammation. The inhibitory effects of LT on cytokine production are also observed in vitro using mouse and human pulmonary epithelial cells. These effects are associated with an alteration of ERK and p38-MAPK phosphorylation, but not JNK phosphorylation. We demonstrate that although NF-κB is essential for IL-8 expression, LT downregulates this expression without interfering with NF-κB activation in epithelial cells. Histone modifications are known to induce chromatin remodelling, thereby enhancing NF-κB binding on promoters of a subset of genes involved in immune response. We show that LT selectively prevents histone H3 phosphorylation at Ser 10 and recruitment of the p65 subunit of NF-κB at the IL-8 and KC promoters. Our results suggest that B. anthracis represses the immune response, in part by altering chromatin accessibility of IL-8 promoter to NF-κB in epithelial cells. This epigenetic reprogramming, in addition to previously reported effects of LT, may represent an efficient strategy used by B. anthracis for invading the host. PMID:19343203

  17. A complex role of anthrax toxin receptor 2 polymorphisms and capillary morphogenesis protein 2 in ankylosing spondylitis pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhijian; Yu, Kun; Dai, Dongfa; Yuan, Fang; Liang, Fei; Liu, Nan; Xi, Yongzhi; Sun, Yu-Ying

    2016-09-01

    This study investigated the role of anthrax toxin receptor 2 (ANTXR2) gene polymorphisms and capillary morphogenesis protein 2 (CMG2) expression in susceptibility and pathogenesis to ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in the Han Chinese in Beijing. A case-control study was performed using 602 AS patient samples meeting the revised New York criterion and 619 matched controls from Han Chinese individuals. Nineteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of ANTXR2 genes were selected and genotyped using the Sequenom iPlex platform. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry were performed to investigate the impact of SNP polymorphisms on ANTXR2 transcription and CMG2 expression, respectively. The association of variants with AS was examined with UNPHASED 3.1.5. A novel association was observed between AS and three SNPs in the ANTXR2 gene (rs4690127, rs6823031, and rs4333130; P = 0.004, 0.011, and 0.013, respectively), confirming the association between rs433130 and AS in the Han Chinese. The strongest haplotype association was observed with rs4690127-rs6823031-rs4333130 (P = 2.5 × 10(-4)). rs6534639 and rs4333130 showed a cis-interaction (P = 0.027) in AS. ANTXR2 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was significantly higher in the AS group than in the control group (P = 0.039). CMG2 expression in the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated group was significantly lower than that in the control group (P = 0.018). This study reports a novel association between ANTXR2 and AS in the Han Chinese. ANTXR2 genetic polymorphisms affect ANTXR2 mRNA transcription and CMG2 expression. The opposing results observed for ANTXR2 transcription and CMG2 expression suggest a complex role of ANTXR2 polymorphisms in AS pathogenesis. PMID:26728147

  18. Induction of cytotoxic T lymphocyte response against Mycobacterial antigen using domain I of anthrax edema factor as antigen delivery system

    SciTech Connect

    Chandra, Subhash; Kaur, Manpreet; Midha, Shuchi; Gorantala, Jyotsna; Bhatnagar, Rakesh . E-mail: rakbhat01@yahoo.com

    2007-05-25

    We have investigated the efficiency of N-terminal 1-260 residues of Edema factor (EFn) as a delivery system for ESAT-6, an antigenic protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H{sub 37}R{sub v}, into the cytosol of mammalian cells. The EFn.ESAT-6 recombinant protein was obtained by genetic fusion of EFn and ESAT-6 DNA. Our data shows that in the presence of PA, EFn.ESAT-6 fusion protein is internalized into the cytosol of antigen presenting cells, and the splenocytes produced both Th1 and Th2 cytokines in vitro. Further, EFn.ESAT-6 elicited effective cytotoxicT lymphocyte (CTL) response in an in vitro CTL assay. This study for the first time demonstrates that EFn can be used as a vehicle to deliver heterologous proteins of therapeutic importance.

  19. Anthrax Vaccine

    MedlinePlus

    What is anthrax?Anthrax is a serious disease that can affect both animals and humans. It is caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or ...

  20. Susceptibility to anthrax lethal toxin-induced rat death is controlled by a single chromosome 10 locus that includes rNlrp1.

    PubMed

    Newman, Zachary L; Printz, Morton P; Liu, Shihui; Crown, Devorah; Breen, Laura; Miller-Randolph, Sharmina; Flodman, Pamela; Leppla, Stephen H; Moayeri, Mahtab

    2010-05-01

    Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) is a bipartite protease-containing toxin and a key virulence determinant of Bacillus anthracis. In mice, LT causes the rapid lysis of macrophages isolated from certain inbred strains, but the correlation between murine macrophage sensitivity and mouse strain susceptibility to toxin challenge is poor. In rats, LT induces a rapid death in as little as 37 minutes through unknown mechanisms. We used a recombinant inbred (RI) rat panel of 19 strains generated from LT-sensitive and LT-resistant progenitors to map LT sensitivity in rats to a locus on chromosome 10 that includes the inflammasome NOD-like receptor (NLR) sensor, Nlrp1. This gene is the closest rat homolog of mouse Nlrp1b, which was previously shown to control murine macrophage sensitivity to LT. An absolute correlation between in vitro macrophage sensitivity to LT-induced lysis and animal susceptibility to the toxin was found for the 19 RI strains and 12 additional rat strains. Sequencing Nlrp1 from these strains identified five polymorphic alleles. Polymorphisms within the N-terminal 100 amino acids of the Nlrp1 protein were perfectly correlated with LT sensitivity. These data suggest that toxin-mediated lethality in rats as well as macrophage sensitivity in this animal model are controlled by a single locus on chromosome 10 that is likely to be the inflammasome NLR sensor, Nlrp1. PMID:20502689

  1. Development of a comprehensive, validated pharmacophore hypothesis for anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF) inhibitors using genetic algorithms, Pareto scoring, and structural biology.

    PubMed

    Chiu, Ting-Lan; Amin, Elizabeth A

    2012-07-23

    Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF), an 89-kDa zinc hydrolase secreted by the bacilli, is the toxin component chiefly responsible for pathogenesis and has been a popular target for rational and structure-based drug design. Although hundreds of small-molecule compounds have been designed to target the LF active site, relatively few reported inhibitors have exhibited activity in cell-based assays, and no LF inhibitor is currently available to treat or prevent anthrax. This study presents a new pharmacophore map assembly, validated by experiment, designed to rapidly identify and prioritize promising LF inhibitor scaffolds from virtual compound libraries. The new hypothesis incorporates structural information from all five available LF enzyme-inhibitor complexes deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and is the first LF pharmacophore map reported to date that includes features representing interactions involving all three key subsites of the LF catalytic binding region. In a wide-ranging validation study on all 546 compounds for which published LF biological activity data exist, this model displayed strong selectivity toward nanomolar-level LF inhibitors, successfully identifying 72.1% of existing nanomolar-level compounds in an unbiased test set, while rejecting 100% of weakly active (>100 μM) compounds. In addition to its capabilities as a database searching tool, this comprehensive model points to a number of key design principles and previously unidentified ligand-receptor interactions that are likely to influence compound potency. PMID:22697455

  2. Targeting the membrane-anchored serine protease testisin with a novel engineered anthrax toxin prodrug to kill tumor cells and reduce tumor burden

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Erik W.; Buzza, Marguerite S.; Driesbaugh, Kathryn H.; Liu, Shihui; Fortenberry, Yolanda M.; Leppla, Stephen H.; Antalis, Toni M.

    2015-01-01

    The membrane-anchored serine proteases are a unique group of trypsin-like serine proteases that are tethered to the cell surface via transmembrane domains or glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-anchors. Overexpressed in tumors, with pro-tumorigenic properties, they are attractive targets for protease-activated prodrug-like anti-tumor therapies. Here, we sought to engineer anthrax toxin protective antigen (PrAg), which is proteolytically activated on the cell surface by the proprotein convertase furin to instead be activated by tumor cell-expressed membrane-anchored serine proteases to function as a tumoricidal agent. PrAg's native activation sequence was mutated to a sequence derived from protein C inhibitor (PCI) that can be cleaved by membrane-anchored serine proteases, to generate the mutant protein PrAg-PCIS. PrAg-PCIS was resistant to furin cleavage in vitro, yet cytotoxic to multiple human tumor cell lines when combined with FP59, a chimeric anthrax toxin lethal factor-Pseudomonas exotoxin fusion protein. Molecular analyses showed that PrAg-PCIS can be cleaved in vitro by several serine proteases including the membrane-anchored serine protease testisin, and mediates increased killing of testisin-expressing tumor cells. Treatment with PrAg-PCIS also potently attenuated the growth of testisin-expressing xenograft tumors in mice. The data indicates PrAg can be engineered to target tumor cell-expressed membrane-anchored serine proteases to function as a potent tumoricidal agent. PMID:26392335

  3. Contributions of edema factor and protective antigen to the induction of protective immunity by Bacillus anthracis edema toxin as an intranasal adjuvant.

    PubMed

    Duverger, Alexandra; Carré, Jeanne-Marie; Jee, Junbae; Leppla, Stephen H; Cormet-Boyaka, Estelle; Tang, Wei-Jen; Tomé, Daniel; Boyaka, Prosper N

    2010-11-15

    We have shown that intranasal coapplication of Bacillus anthracis protective Ag (PA) together with a B. anthracis edema factor (EF) mutant having reduced adenylate cyclase activity (i.e., EF-S414N) enhances anti-PA Ab responses, but also acts as a mucosal adjuvant for coadministered unrelated Ags. To elucidate the role of edema toxin (EdTx) components in its adjuvanticity, we examined how a PA mutant lacking the ability to bind EF (PA-U7) or another mutant that allows the cellular uptake of EF, but fails to efficiently mediate its translocation into the cytosol (PA-dFF), would affect EdTx-induced adaptive immunity. Native EdTx promotes costimulatory molecule expression by macrophages and B lymphocytes, and a broad spectrum of cytokine responses by cervical lymph node cells in vitro. These effects were reduced or abrogated when cells were treated with EF plus PA-dFF, or PA-U7 instead of PA. We also intranasally immunized groups of mice with a recombinant fusion protein of Yersinia pestis F1 and LcrV Ags (F1-V) together with EdTx variants consisting of wild-type or mutants PA and EF. Analysis of serum and mucosal Ab responses against F1-V or EdTx components (i.e., PA and EF) revealed no adjuvant activity in mice that received PA-U7 instead of PA. In contrast, coimmunization with PA-dFF enhanced serum Ab responses. Finally, immunization with native PA and an EF mutant lacking adenylate cyclase activity (EF-K346R) failed to enhance Ab responses. In summary, a fully functional PA and a minimum of adenylate cyclase activity are needed for EdTx to act as a mucosal adjuvant. PMID:20952678

  4. Contributions of Edema Factor and Protective Antigen to the Induction of Protective Immunity by Bacillus anthracis Edema Toxin as an Intranasal Adjuvant

    PubMed Central

    Duverger, Alexandra; Carré, Jeanne-Marie; Jee, Junbae; Leppla, Stephen H.; Cormet-Boyaka, Estelle; Tang, Wei-Jen; Tomé, Daniel; Boyaka, Prosper N.

    2013-01-01

    We have shown that intranasal coapplication of Bacillus anthracis protective Ag (PA) together with a B. anthracis edema factor (EF) mutant having reduced adenylate cyclase activity (i.e., EF-S414N) enhances anti-PAAb responses, but also acts as a mucosal adjuvant for coadministered unrelated Ags. To elucidate the role of edema toxin (EdTx) components in its adjuvanticity, we examined how a PA mutant lacking the ability to bind EF (PA-U7) or another mutant that allows the cellular uptake of EF, but fails to efficiently mediate its translocation into the cytosol (PA-dFF), would affect EdTx-induced adaptive immunity. Native EdTx promotes costimulatory molecule expression by macrophages and B lymphocytes, and a broad spectrum of cytokine responses by cervical lymph node cells in vitro. These effects were reduced or abrogated when cells were treated with EF plus PA-dFF, or PA-U7 instead of PA. We also intranasally immunized groups of mice with a recombinant fusion protein of Yersinia pestis F1 and LcrVAgs (F1-V) together with EdTx variants consisting of wild-type or mutants PA and EF. Analysis of serum and mucosal Ab responses against F1-V or EdTx components (i.e., PA and EF) revealed no adjuvant activity in mice that received PA-U7 instead of PA. In contrast, coimmunization with PA-dFF enhanced serum Ab responses. Finally, immunization with native PA and an EF mutant lacking adenylate cyclase activity (EF-K346R) failed to enhance Ab responses. In summary, a fully functional PA and a minimum of adenylate cyclase activity are needed for EdTx to act as a mucosal adjuvant. PMID:20952678

  5. Apoptosis and melanogenesis in human melanoma cells induced by anthrax lethal factor inactivation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koo, Han-Mo; Vanbrocklin, Matt; McWilliams, Mary Jane; Leppla, Stephan H.; Duesbery, Nicholas S.; Vande Woude, George F.

    2002-03-01

    Lethal factor, the principal virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, inhibits mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling by proteolytically cleaving MAPK kinases. Edema factor, another component of anthrax toxin, is an adenylate cyclase, which increases intracellular cAMP. Inhibition of MAPK signaling with either anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx) or small molecule MAPK kinase inhibitors triggers apoptosis in human melanoma cells. Normal melanocytes do not undergo apoptosis in response to MAPK inhibition but arrest in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Importantly, in vivo treatment of human melanoma xenograft tumors in athymic nude mice with LeTx results in significant or complete tumor regression without apparent side effects, suggesting that inhibiting the MAPK signaling pathway may be a useful strategy for treating melanoma. Additionally, interrupting MAPK signaling with LeTx and elevating cAMP with anthrax edema toxin in both melanoma cells and melanocytes lead to dramatic melanin production, perhaps explaining the formation of blackened eschars in cutaneous anthrax.

  6. Novel Yersinia Pestis Toxin that Resembles Bacillus Anthracis Edema Factor: Study of Activity and Structural Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Motin, V; Garcia, E; Barsky, D; Zemla, A

    2003-02-05

    The goal of this project was to begin both experimental and computational studies of the novel plague toxin to establish its biological properties and create its 3D-model. The project was divided into two parts. (1) Experimental--This part was devoted to determine distribution of the genes encoding novel plague toxin among different isolates of Y.pestis. If the EF-like activity is important for Y.pestis pathogenicity, it is anticipated that all highly virulent strains will contain the toxin genes. Also, they proposed to initiate research to investigate the functionality of the novel Y.pestis toxin that they hypothesize is likely to significantly contribute to the virulence of this dangerous microbe. this research design consisted of amplification, cloning and expression in E.coli the toxin genes followed by affinity purification of the recombinant protein that can be further used for testing of enzymatic activity. (2) Computational--The structural modeling of the putative EF of Y.pestis was based on multiple sequence alignments, secondary structure predictions, and comparison with 3D models of the EF of B. anthracis. The x-ray structure of the last has been recently published [Nature. 2002. 415(Jan):396-402]. The final model was selected after detailed analysis to determine if the structure is consistent with the biological function.

  7. Bacillus anthracis Lethal Toxin Reduces Human Alveolar Epithelial Barrier Function

    PubMed Central

    Langer, Marybeth; Duggan, Elizabeth Stewart; Booth, John Leland; Patel, Vineet Indrajit; Zander, Ryan A.; Silasi-Mansat, Robert; Ramani, Vijay; Veres, Tibor Zoltan; Prenzler, Frauke; Sewald, Katherina; Williams, Daniel M.; Coggeshall, Kenneth Mark; Awasthi, Shanjana; Lupu, Florea; Burian, Dennis; Ballard, Jimmy Dale; Braun, Armin

    2012-01-01

    The lung is the site of entry for Bacillus anthracis in inhalation anthrax, the deadliest form of the disease. Bacillus anthracis produces virulence toxins required for disease. Alveolar macrophages were considered the primary target of the Bacillus anthracis virulence factor lethal toxin because lethal toxin inhibits mouse macrophages through cleavage of MEK signaling pathway components, but we have reported that human alveolar macrophages are not a target of lethal toxin. Our current results suggest that, unlike human alveolar macrophages, the cells lining the respiratory units of the lung, alveolar epithelial cells, are a target of lethal toxin in humans. Alveolar epithelial cells expressed lethal toxin receptor protein, bound the protective antigen component of lethal toxin, and were subject to lethal-toxin-induced cleavage of multiple MEKs. These findings suggest that human alveolar epithelial cells are a target of Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin. Further, no reduction in alveolar epithelial cell viability was observed, but lethal toxin caused actin rearrangement and impaired desmosome formation, consistent with impaired barrier function as well as reduced surfactant production. Therefore, by compromising epithelial barrier function, lethal toxin may play a role in the pathogenesis of inhalation anthrax by facilitating the dissemination of Bacillus anthracis from the lung in early disease and promoting edema in late stages of the illness. PMID:23027535

  8. Anthrax: Symptoms

    MedlinePlus

    ... hands Inhalation anthrax symptoms can include: Fever and chills Chest Discomfort Shortness of breath Confusion or dizziness ... aches Gastrointestinal anthrax symptoms can include: Fever and chills Swelling of neck or neck glands Sore throat ...

  9. Anthrax Susceptibility: Human Genetic Polymorphisms Modulating ANTXR2 Expression

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Zhang; Zhang, Yan; Shi, Minglei; Ye, Bingyu; Shen, Wenlong; Li, Ping; Xing, Lingyue; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Hou, Lihua; Xu, Junjie; Zhao, Zhihu; Chen, Wei

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax toxin causes anthrax pathogenesis and expression levels of ANTXR2 (anthrax toxin receptor 2) are strongly correlated with anthrax toxin susceptibility. Previous studies found that ANTXR2 transcript abundance varies considerably in individuals of different ethnic/geographical groups, but no eQTLs (expression quantitative trait loci) have been identified. By using 3C (chromatin conformation capture), CRISPR-mediated genomic deletion and dual-luciferase reporter assay, gene loci containing cis-regulatory elements of ANTXR2 were localized. Two SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism) at the conserved CREB-binding motif, rs13140055 and rs80314910 in the promoter region of the gene, modulating ANTXR2 promoter activity were identified. Combining these two regulatory SNPs with a previously reported SNP, rs12647691, for the first time, a statistically significant correlation between human genetic variations and anthrax toxin sensitivity was observed. These findings further our understanding of human variability in ANTXR2 expression and anthrax toxin susceptibility. PMID:26703731

  10. Anthrax Susceptibility: Human Genetic Polymorphisms Modulating ANTXR2 Expression.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhang; Zhang, Yan; Shi, Minglei; Ye, Bingyu; Shen, Wenlong; Li, Ping; Xing, Lingyue; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Hou, Lihua; Xu, Junjie; Zhao, Zhihu; Chen, Wei

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax toxin causes anthrax pathogenesis and expression levels of ANTXR2 (anthrax toxin receptor 2) are strongly correlated with anthrax toxin susceptibility. Previous studies found that ANTXR2 transcript abundance varies considerably in individuals of different ethnic/geographical groups, but no eQTLs (expression quantitative trait loci) have been identified. By using 3C (chromatin conformation capture), CRISPR-mediated genomic deletion and dual-luciferase reporter assay, gene loci containing cis-regulatory elements of ANTXR2 were localized. Two SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphism) at the conserved CREB-binding motif, rs13140055 and rs80314910 in the promoter region of the gene, modulating ANTXR2 promoter activity were identified. Combining these two regulatory SNPs with a previously reported SNP, rs12647691, for the first time, a statistically significant correlation between human genetic variations and anthrax toxin sensitivity was observed. These findings further our understanding of human variability in ANTXR2 expression and anthrax toxin susceptibility. PMID:26703731

  11. Electrochemical immunosensor based on bismuth nanocomposite film and cadmium ions functionalized titanium phosphates for the detection of anthrax protective antigen toxin.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Mukesh K; Narayanan, J; Upadhyay, Sanjay; Goel, Ajay K

    2015-12-15

    Bacillus anthracis is a bioterrorism agent classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Herein, a novel electrochemical immunosensor for the sensitive, specific and easy detection of anthrax protective antigen (PA) toxin in picogram concentration was developed. The immunosensor consists of (i) a Nafion-multiwall carbon nanotubes-bismuth nanocomposite film modified glassy carbon electrodes (BiNPs/Nafion-MWCNTs/GCE) as a sensing platform and (ii) titanium phosphate nanoparticles-cadmium ion-mouse anti-PA antibodies (TiP-Cd(2+)-MαPA antibodies) as signal amplification tags. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), thermogravimmetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform-infra red spectroscopy (FT-IR), zeta-potential analysis, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) were employed to characterize the synthesized TiP nanoparticles and modified electrode surfaces. The immunosensing performance of BiNPs/Nafion-MWCNTs/GCE was evaluated based on sandwich immunoassay protocol. A square wave voltammetry (SWV) scan from -1.2 to -0.3 V in HAc-NaAc buffer solution (pH 4.6) without stripping process was performed to record the electrochemical responses at -0.75 V corresponding to high content of Cd(2+) ions loaded in TiP nanoparticles for the measurement of PA toxin. Under optimal conditions, the currents increased with increasing PA toxin concentrations in spiked human serum samples and showed a linear range from 0.1 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml. The limit of detection of developed immunosensor was found to be 50 pg/ml at S/N=3. The total time of analysis was 35 min. PMID:26148674

  12. Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies Directed against Defined Linear Epitopes on Domain 4 of Anthrax Protective Antigen▿

    PubMed Central

    Kelly-Cirino, Cassandra D.; Mantis, Nicholas J.

    2009-01-01

    The anthrax protective antigen (PA) is the receptor-binding subunit common to lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET), which are responsible for the high mortality rates associated with inhalational Bacillus anthracis infection. Although recombinant PA (rPA) is likely to be an important constituent of any future anthrax vaccine, evaluation of the efficacies of the various candidate rPA vaccines is currently difficult, because the specific B-cell epitopes involved in toxin neutralization have not been completely defined. In this study, we describe the identification and characterization of two murine monoclonal immunoglobulin G1 antibodies (MAbs), 1-F1 and 2-B12, which recognize distinct linear neutralizing epitopes on domain 4 of PA. 1-F1 recognized a 12-mer peptide corresponding to residues 692 to 703; this epitope maps to a region of domain 4 known to interact with the anthrax toxin receptor CMG-2 and within a conformation-dependent epitope recognized by the well-characterized neutralizing MAb 14B7. As expected, 1-F1 blocked PA's ability to associate with CMG-2 in an in vitro solid-phase binding assay, and it protected murine macrophage cells from intoxication with LT. 2-B12 recognized a 12-mer peptide corresponding to residues 716 to 727, an epitope located immediately adjacent to the core 14B7 binding site and a stretch of amino acids not previously identified as a target of neutralizing antibodies. 2-B12 was as effective as 1-F1 in neutralizing LT in vitro, although it only partially inhibited PA binding to its receptor. Mice passively administered 1-F1 or 2-B12 were partially protected against a lethal challenge with LT. These results advance our fundamental understanding of the mechanisms by which antibodies neutralize anthrax toxin and may have future application in the evaluation of candidate rPA vaccines. PMID:19703971

  13. Primary Involvement of Pharynx and Peyer's Patch in Inhalational and Intestinal Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Glomski, Ian J; Piris-Gimenez, Alejandro; Huerre, Michel; Mock, Michèle; Goossens, Pierre L

    2007-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis causes three forms of anthrax: inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous. Anthrax is characterized by both toxemia, which is caused by secretion of immunomodulating toxins (lethal toxin and edema toxin), and septicemia, which is associated with bacterial encapsulation. Here we report that, contrary to the current view of B. anthracis pathogenesis, B. anthracis spores germinate and establish infections at the initial site of inoculation in both inhalational and cutaneous infections without needing to be transported to draining lymph nodes, and that inhaled spores establish initial infection in nasal-associated lymphoid tissues. Furthermore, we found that Peyer's patches in the mouse intestine are the primary site of bacterial growth after intragastric inoculation, thus establishing an animal model of gastrointestinal anthrax. All routes of infection progressed to the draining lymph nodes, spleen, lungs, and ultimately the blood. These discoveries were made possible through the development of a novel dynamic mouse model of B. anthracis infection using bioluminescent non-toxinogenic capsulated bacteria that can be visualized within the mouse in real-time, and demonstrate the value of in vivo imaging in the analysis of B. anthracis infection. Our data imply that previously unrecognized portals of bacterial entry demand more intensive investigation, and will significantly transform the current perception of inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous B. anthracis pathogenesis. PMID:17542645

  14. Targeting the MAP kinase pathway in astrocytoma cells using a recombinant anthrax lethal toxin as a way to inhibit cell motility and invasion.

    PubMed

    Al-Dimassi, Saleh; Salloum, Gilbert; Saykali, Bechara; Khoury, Oula; Liu, Shihui; Leppla, Stephen H; Abi-Habib, Ralph; El-Sibai, Mirvat

    2016-05-01

    Malignant astrocytomas are highly invasive into adjacent and distant regions of the normal brain. Understanding and targeting cancer cell invasion is an important therapeutic approach. Cell invasion is a complex process that replies on many signaling pathways including the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (MAPK). In many cell lines, the use of MAPK-targeted drugs proved to be a potential method to inhibit cancer cell motility. In the present study, we use a recombinant anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx), which selectively inhibits the MAPK pathway, in order to target invasion. LeTx proved ineffective on cell survival in astrocytoma (as well as normal cells). However, astrocytoma cells that were treated with LeTx showed a significant decrease in cell motility as seen by wound healing as well as random 2D motility in serum. The cells also showed a decrease in invasion across a collagen matrix. The effect of LeTx on cell migration was mediated though the deregulation of Rho GTPases, which play a role in cell motility. Finally, the effect of LeTx on cell migration and Rho GTPases was mimicked by the inhibition of the MAPK pathway. In this study, we describe for the first time the effect of the LeTx on cancer cell motility and invasion not cell survival making it a potentially selective brain tumor invasion inhibitor. PMID:26984023

  15. Adenoviral Expression of a Bispecific VHH-Based Neutralizing Agent That Targets Protective Antigen Provides Prophylactic Protection from Anthrax in Mice.

    PubMed

    Moayeri, Mahtab; Tremblay, Jacqueline M; Debatis, Michelle; Dmitriev, Igor P; Kashentseva, Elena A; Yeh, Anthony J; Cheung, Gordon Y C; Curiel, David T; Leppla, Stephen; Shoemaker, Charles B

    2016-03-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, secretes three polypeptides, which form the bipartite lethal and edema toxins (LT and ET, respectively). The common component in these toxins, protective antigen (PA), is responsible for binding to cellular receptors and translocating the lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF) enzymatic moieties to the cytosol. Antibodies against PA protect against anthrax. We previously isolated toxin-neutralizing variable domains of camelid heavy-chain-only antibodies (VHHs) and demonstrated their in vivo efficacy. In this work, gene therapy with an adenoviral (Ad) vector (Ad/VNA2-PA) (VNA, VHH-based neutralizing agents) promoting the expression of a bispecific VHH-based neutralizing agent (VNA2-PA), consisting of two linked VHHs targeting different PA-neutralizing epitopes, was tested in two inbred mouse strains, BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J, and found to protect mice against anthrax toxin challenge and anthrax spore infection. Two weeks after a single treatment with Ad/VNA2-PA, serum VNA2-PA levels remained above 1 μg/ml, with some as high as 10 mg/ml. The levels were 10- to 100-fold higher and persisted longer in C57BL/6J than in BALB/cJ mice. Mice were challenged with a lethal dose of LT or spores at various times after Ad/VNA2-PA administration. The majority of BALB/cJ mice having serum VNA2-PA levels of >0.1 μg/ml survived LT challenge, and 9 of 10 C57BL/6J mice with serum levels of >1 μg/ml survived spore challenge. Our findings demonstrate the potential for genetic delivery of VNAs as an effective method for providing prophylactic protection from anthrax. We also extend prior findings of mouse strain-based differences in transgene expression and persistence by adenoviral vectors. PMID:26740390

  16. Anthrax Basics

    MedlinePlus

    ... it like the cold or flu. How do animals get infected with anthrax? Domestic and wild animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer ... soil, plants, or water. In areas where domestic animals have had anthrax in the past, routine vaccination ...

  17. Cutaneous anthrax (image)

    MedlinePlus

    Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis . While anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep and goats, humans may get sick from anthrax, too. The most common type of anthrax infection ...

  18. The anthrax protective antigen (PA63) bound conformation of a peptide inhibitor of the binding of lethal factor to PA63: as determined by trNOESY NMR and molecular modeling.

    PubMed

    Hicks, Rickey P; Bhattacharjee, Apurba K; Koser, Brandon W; Traficante, Daniel D

    2004-10-21

    Anthrax protective antigen (PA) is one of the three proteins produced by the gram positive bacteria Bacillus anthracis collectively known as the "anthrax toxin" (Ascenzi, P.; Visca, P.; Ippolito, G.; Spallarossa, A.; Bolognesi, M.; et al. Anthrax toxin: a tripartite lethal combination. FEBS Lett. 2002, 531, 384-388). The role played by PA in anthrax intoxication is to transport the two enzymes lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF) into the cell. Collier and co-workers (Mourez, M.; Kane, R. S.; Mogridge, J.; Metallo, S.; Deschatelets, P.; et al. Designing a polyvalent inhibitor of anthrax toxin. Nat. Biotechnol. 2001, 958). reported the isolation of two peptides via phage display that bind to the PA63 heptamer and inhibit its interaction with LF and EF, and thereby prevent the transport of LF and EF into the cell. One of these peptides, His-Thr-Ser-Thr-Try-Trp-Trp-Leu-Asp-Gly-Ala-Pro (P1), was selected for structural investigation on the basis of its ability to prevent the binding of LF to the PA63 heptamer bundle. Two-dimensional trNOESY experiments coupled with NOE restrained simulated annealing calculations were used to determine the PA63-bound conformation of P1. On binding to PA63, P1 adopts a helical conformation involving residues 3-9 while the C- and N-terminal residues exhibit dynamic fraying. PMID:15481973

  19. Sequence and organization of pXO1, the large Bacillus anthracis plasmid harboring the anthrax toxin genes.

    PubMed

    Okinaka, R T; Cloud, K; Hampton, O; Hoffmaster, A R; Hill, K K; Keim, P; Koehler, T M; Lamke, G; Kumano, S; Mahillon, J; Manter, D; Martinez, Y; Ricke, D; Svensson, R; Jackson, P J

    1999-10-01

    The Bacillus anthracis Sterne plasmid pXO1 was sequenced by random, "shotgun" cloning. A circular sequence of 181,654 bp was generated. One hundred forty-three open reading frames (ORFs) were predicted using GeneMark and GeneMark.hmm, comprising only 61% (110,817 bp) of the pXO1 DNA sequence. The overall guanine-plus-cytosine content of the plasmid is 32.5%. The most recognizable feature of the plasmid is a "pathogenicity island," defined by a 44.8-kb region that is bordered by inverted IS1627 elements at each end. This region contains the three toxin genes (cya, lef, and pagA), regulatory elements controlling the toxin genes, three germination response genes, and 19 additional ORFs. Nearly 70% of the ORFs on pXO1 do not have significant similarity to sequences available in open databases. Absent from the pXO1 sequence are homologs to genes that are typically required to drive theta replication and to maintain stability of large plasmids in Bacillus spp. Among the ORFs with a high degree of similarity to known sequences are a collection of putative transposases, resolvases, and integrases, suggesting an evolution involving lateral movement of DNA among species. Among the remaining ORFs, there are three sequences that may encode enzymes responsible for the synthesis of a polysaccharide capsule usually associated with serotype-specific virulent streptococci. PMID:10515943

  20. STRUCTURE BASED DESIGN OF PROTEIN LIGANDS: A STUDY OF ANTIBODY-LIKE SCAFFOLDS TARGETED AGAINST THE ANTHRAX TOXIN

    SciTech Connect

    P. SHIFLETT; E. HONG-GELLER; ET AL

    2000-12-01

    We have adopted structure-based approaches to enhance the affinities of two single chain antibodies, scFv1 and scFv4, that bind to two different epitopes on the Protective Antigen (PA), a toxin from Bacillus anthracis. In one approach, we have modified scFv4 and re-engineered a novel antibody-like scaffold in which we have placed V{sub L} on the N terminus and V{sub H} on the C-terminus and joined them by a 10 amino-acid-long linker. This scaffold preserves the native V{sub L}-V{sub H} contact interface and the dispositions of the CDR loops. It binds to PA with 10 fold higher affinity than scFv4. In a second approach, we have created a bispecific ligand by covalently joining scFv1 and scFv4 by a flexible linker that supports simultaneous and synergistic binding of the two scFvs to PA. This bispecific scFv1-linker-scFv4 binds to PA with 10 fold higher affinity than the individual scFvs. The newly re-engineered antibody-like scaffold of scFv4 and scFv1-linker-scFv4 are expected to be potent inhibitors of PA binding to the host cells.

  1. Anthrax lethal toxin down-regulates type-IIA secreted phospholipase A(2) expression through MAPK/NF-kappaB inactivation.

    PubMed

    Raymond, Benoit; Ravaux, Lucas; Mémet, Sylvie; Wu, YongZheng; Sturny-Leclère, Aude; Leduc, Dominique; Denoyelle, Chantal; Goossens, Pierre L; Payá, Miguel; Raymondjean, Michel; Touqui, Lhousseine

    2010-04-15

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, produces lethal toxin (LT) that displays a metallo-proteolytic activity toward the N-terminus of the MAPK-kinases. We have previously shown that secreted type-IIA phospholipase A(2) (sPLA(2)-IIA) exhibits potent anthracidal activity. In vitro expression of sPLA(2)-IIA in guinea pig alveolar macrophages (AMs), the major source of this enzyme in lung tissues, is inhibited by LT. Here, we examined the mechanisms involved in sPLA(2)-IIA inhibition by LT. We first showed that chemical inhibitors of p38 and ERK MAPKs reduced sPLA(2)-IIA expression in AMs indicating that these kinases play a role in sPLA(2)-IIA expression. LT inhibited IL-1beta-induced p38 phosphorylation as well as sPLA(2)-IIA promoter activity in CHO cells. Inhibition of sPLA(2)-IIA promoter activity was mimicked by co-transfection with dominant negative construct of p38 (DN-p38) and reversed by the active form of p38-MAPK (AC-p38). Both LT and DN-p38 decreased IL-1beta-induced NF-kappaB luciferase activity. This contrasted with the effect of AC-p38, which enhanced this activity. However, neither LT nor specific p-38 inhibitor interfered with LPS-induced IkappaBalpha degradation or NF-kappaB nuclear translocation in AMs. Subcutaneous administration of LT to guinea pig before LPS challenge reduced sPLA(2)-IIA levels in broncho-alveolar lavages and ears. We conclude that sPLA(2)-IIA expression is induced via a sequential MAPK-NF-kappaB activation and that LT inhibits this expression likely by interfering with the transactivation of NF-kappaB in the nucleus. This inhibition, which is operating both in vitro and in vivo, may represent a mechanism by which B. anthracis subvert host defense. PMID:19962969

  2. Anthrax Vaccine

    MedlinePlus

    ... products some military personnel, as determined by the Department of Defense These people should get five doses of vaccine ( ... cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/vaccination/. Contact the U.S Department of Defense (DoD): call 1-877-438-8222 or visit ...

  3. Anthrax blood test

    MedlinePlus

    Anthrax serology test; Antibody test for anthrax; Serologic test for B anthracis ... A normal result means no antibodies to the anthrax bacteria were seen in your blood sample. However, during the early stages of infection, your body may only ...

  4. On the role of macrophages in anthrax.

    PubMed Central

    Hanna, P C; Acosta, D; Collier, R J

    1993-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, produces systemic shock and death in susceptible animals, primarily through the action of its lethal toxin. This toxin, at high concentrations, induces lysis of macrophages in vitro but shows little or no effect on other cells. We found that when mice were specifically depleted of macrophages by silica injections, they became resistant to the toxin. Sensitivity could be restored by coinjection of toxin-sensitive cultured macrophages (RAW 264.7 cells) but not by coinjection of other cell lines tested. These results implied that macrophages mediate the action of lethal toxin in vivo and led us to investigate their role in death of the mammalian host. Sublytic concentrations of lethal toxin, orders of magnitude lower than those required to induce lysis of RAW 264.7 cells, were found to induce these cells to express interleukin 1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor in vitro. Passive immunization against IL-1 or injection of an IL-1 receptor antagonist protected mice from toxin challenge, whereas anti-tumor necrosis factor provided little, if any, protection. These results imply that systemic shock and death from anthrax result primarily from the effects of high levels of cytokines, principally IL-1, produced by macrophages that have been stimulated by the anthrax lethal toxin. PMID:8234277

  5. Soluble expression and purification of the anthrax protective antigen in E. coli and identification of a novel dominant-negative mutant N435C.

    PubMed

    Wu, Gaobing; Feng, Chunfang; Hong, Yuzhi; Guo, Aizhen; Cao, Sha; Dong, Junli; Lin, Ling; Liu, Ziduo

    2010-06-01

    The anthrax toxin is an AB-type bacterium toxin composed of the protective antigen (PA) as the cell-binding B component, and the lethal factor (LF) and edema toxin (EF) as the catalytic A components. The PA component is a key factor in anthrax-related research and recombinant PA can be produced in general in Escherichia coli. However, such recombinant PA always forms inclusion bodies in the cytoplasm of E. coli, making difficult the procedure of its purification. In this study, we found that the solubility of recombinant PA was dramatically enhanced by fusion with glutathione S-transferase (GST) and an induction of its expression at 28 degrees C. The PA was purified to high homogeneity and a yield of 3 mg protein was obtained from 1 l culture by an affinity-chromatography approach. Moreover, we expressed and purified three PA mutants, I394C, A396C, and N435C, which were impaired in expression in previous study. Among them, a novel mutant N435C which conferred dominant-negative inhibitory activity on PA was identified. This new mutant may be useful in designing new antitoxin for anthrax prophylaxis and therapy. PMID:20213183

  6. Phospho-MEK1/2 and uPAR Expression Determine Sensitivity of AML Blasts to a Urokinase-Activated Anthrax Lethal Toxin (PrAgU2/LF)1

    PubMed Central

    Bekdash, Amira; Darwish, Manal; Timsah, Zahra; Kassab, Elias; Ghanem, Hadi; Najjar, Vicky; Ghosn, Marwan; Nasser, Selim; El-Hajj, Hiba; Bazerbachi, Ali; Liu, Shihui; Leppla, Stephen H.; Frankel, Arthur E.; Abi-Habib, Ralph J.

    2015-01-01

    In this study, we attempt to target both the urokinase plasminogen activator and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines and primary AML blasts using PrAgU2/LF, a urokinase-activated anthrax lethal toxin. PrAgU2/LF was cytotoxic to five out of nine AML cell lines. Cytotoxicity of PrAgU2/LF appeared to be nonapoptotic and was associated with MAPK activation and urokinase activity because all the PrAgU2/LF-sensitive cell lines showed both uPAR expression and high levels of MEK1/2 phosphorylation. Inhibition of uPAR or desensitization of cells to MEK1/2 inhibition blocked toxicity of PrAgU2/LF, indicating requirement for both uPAR expression and MAPK activation for activity. PrAgU2/LF was also cytotoxic to primary blasts from AML patients, with blasts from four out of five patients showing a cytotoxic response to PrAgU2/LF. Cytotoxicity of primary AML blasts was also dependent on uPAR expression and phos-MEK1/2 levels. CD34+ bone marrow blasts and peripheral blood mononuclear cells lacked uPAR expression and were resistant to PrAgU2/LF, demonstrating the lack of toxicity to normal hematological cells and, therefore, the tumor selectivity of this approach. Dose escalation in mice revealed that the maximal tolerated dose of PrAgU2/LF is at least 5.7-fold higher than that of the wild-type anthrax lethal toxin, PrAg/LF, further demonstrating the increased safety of this molecule. We have shown, in this study, that PrAgU2/LF is a novel, dual-specific molecule for the selective targeting of AML. PMID:26500025

  7. Raxibacumab: potential role in the treatment of inhalational anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Kummerfeldt, Carlos E

    2014-01-01

    Anthrax is a highly contagious and potentially fatal human disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, an aerobic, Gram-positive, spore-forming rod-shaped bacterium with worldwide distribution as a zoonotic infection in herbivore animals. Bioterrorist attacks with inhalational anthrax have prompted the development of more effective treatments. Antibodies against anthrax toxin have been shown to decrease mortality in animal studies. Raxibacumab is a recombinant human monoclonal antibody developed against inhalational anthrax. The drug received approval after human studies showed its safety and animal studies demonstrated its efficacy for treatment as well as prophylaxis against inhalational anthrax. It works by preventing binding of the protective antigen component of the anthrax toxin to its receptors in host cells, thereby blocking the toxin’s deleterious effects. Recently updated therapy guidelines for Bacillus anthracis recommend the use of antitoxin treatment. Raxibacumab is the first monoclonal antitoxin antibody made available that can be used with the antibiotics recommended for treatment of the disease. When exposure is suspected, raxibacumab should be given with anthrax vaccination to augment immunity. Raxibacumab provides additional protection against inhalational anthrax via a mechanism different from that of either antibiotics or active immunization. In combination with currently available and recommended therapies, raxibacumab should reduce the morbidity and mortality of inhalational anthrax. PMID:24812521

  8. A Comparison of the Adaptive Immune Response between Recovered Anthrax Patients and Individuals Receiving Three Different Anthrax Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Laws, Thomas R.; Kuchuloria, Tinatin; Chitadze, Nazibriola; Little, Stephen F.; Webster, Wendy M.; Debes, Amanda K.; Saginadze, Salome; Tsertsvadze, Nikoloz; Chubinidze, Mariam; Rivard, Robert G.; Tsanava, Shota; Dyson, Edward H.; Simpson, Andrew J. H.; Hepburn, Matthew J.; Trapaidze, Nino

    2016-01-01

    Several different human vaccines are available to protect against anthrax. We compared the human adaptive immune responses generated by three different anthrax vaccines or by previous exposure to cutaneous anthrax. Adaptive immunity was measured by ELISPOT to count cells that produce interferon (IFN)-γ in response to restimulation ex vivo with the anthrax toxin components PA, LF and EF and by measuring circulating IgG specific to these antigens. Neutralising activity of antisera against anthrax toxin was also assayed. We found that the different exposures to anthrax antigens promoted varying immune responses. Cutaneous anthrax promoted strong IFN-γ responses to all three antigens and antibody responses to PA and LF. The American AVA and Russian LAAV vaccines induced antibody responses to PA only. The British AVP vaccine produced IFN-γ responses to EF and antibody responses to all three antigens. Anti-PA (in AVA and LAAV vaccinees) or anti-LF (in AVP vaccinees) antibody titres correlated with toxin neutralisation activities. Our study is the first to compare all three vaccines in humans and show the diversity of responses against anthrax antigens. PMID:27007118

  9. A Comparison of the Adaptive Immune Response between Recovered Anthrax Patients and Individuals Receiving Three Different Anthrax Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Laws, Thomas R; Kuchuloria, Tinatin; Chitadze, Nazibriola; Little, Stephen F; Webster, Wendy M; Debes, Amanda K; Saginadze, Salome; Tsertsvadze, Nikoloz; Chubinidze, Mariam; Rivard, Robert G; Tsanava, Shota; Dyson, Edward H; Simpson, Andrew J H; Hepburn, Matthew J; Trapaidze, Nino

    2016-01-01

    Several different human vaccines are available to protect against anthrax. We compared the human adaptive immune responses generated by three different anthrax vaccines or by previous exposure to cutaneous anthrax. Adaptive immunity was measured by ELISPOT to count cells that produce interferon (IFN)-γ in response to restimulation ex vivo with the anthrax toxin components PA, LF and EF and by measuring circulating IgG specific to these antigens. Neutralising activity of antisera against anthrax toxin was also assayed. We found that the different exposures to anthrax antigens promoted varying immune responses. Cutaneous anthrax promoted strong IFN-γ responses to all three antigens and antibody responses to PA and LF. The American AVA and Russian LAAV vaccines induced antibody responses to PA only. The British AVP vaccine produced IFN-γ responses to EF and antibody responses to all three antigens. Anti-PA (in AVA and LAAV vaccinees) or anti-LF (in AVP vaccinees) antibody titres correlated with toxin neutralisation activities. Our study is the first to compare all three vaccines in humans and show the diversity of responses against anthrax antigens. PMID:27007118

  10. GRP78(BiP) facilitates the cytosolic delivery of anthrax lethal factor (LF) in vivo and functions as an unfoldase in vitro

    PubMed Central

    Tamayo, Alfred G.; Slater, Louise; Taylor-Parker, Julian; Bharti, Ajit; Harrison, Robert; Hung, Deborah T.; Murphy, John R.

    2011-01-01

    Summary Anthrax toxin is an A/B bacterial protein toxin which is composed of the enzymatically active Lethal Factor (LF) and/or Oedema Factor (EF) bound to Protective Antigen 63 (PA63) which functions as both the receptor binding and transmembrane domains. Once the toxin binds to its cell surface receptors it is internalized into the cell and traffics through Rab5- and Rab7-associated endosomal vesicles. Following acidification of the vesicle lumen, PA63 undergoes a dynamic change forming a beta-barrel that inserts into and forms a pore through the endosomal membrane. It is widely recognized that LF, and the related fusion protein LFnDTA, must be completely denatured in order to transit through the PA63 formed pore and enter the eukaryotic cell cytosol. We demonstrate by protease protection assays that the molecular chaperone GRP78 mediates the unfolding of LFnDTA and LF at neutral pH and thereby converts these proteins from a trypsin resistant to sensitive conformation. We have used immuno-electron microscopy and gold-labeled antibodies to demonstrate that both GRP78 and GRP94 chaperones are present in the lumen of endosomal vesicles. Finally, we have used siRNA to demonstrate that knock down of GRP78 results in the emergence of resistance to anthrax lethal toxin and edema toxin action. PMID:21797942

  11. Indigenous human cutaneous anthrax in Texas.

    PubMed

    Taylor, J P; Dimmitt, D C; Ezzell, J W; Whitford, H

    1993-01-01

    In December 1988 an indigenous case of cutaneous anthrax was identified in Texas. The patient, a 63-year-old male Hispanic from southwest Texas, was a sheep shearer and had a recent history of dissecting sheep that had died suddenly. He experienced an illness characterized by left arm pain and edema. A necrotic lesion developed on his left forearm, with cellulitis and lymphadenopathy. After treatment with oral and intravenous penicillins, the patient fully recovered. Western blot testing revealed a fourfold or greater rise in antibody titer to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen and lethal factor. This represents the first case of indigenous anthrax in Texas in more than 20 years. PMID:8420007

  12. Nitric oxide production contributes to Bacillus anthracis edema toxin-associated arterial hypotension and lethality: ex vivo and in vivo studies in the rat.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Cui, Xizhong; Xu, Wanying; Ohanjanian, Lernik; Sampath-Kumar, Hanish; Suffredini, Dante; Moayeri, Mahtab; Leppla, Stephen; Fitz, Yvonne; Eichacker, Peter Q

    2016-09-01

    We showed previously that Bacillus anthracis edema toxin (ET), comprised of protective antigen (PA) and edema factor (EF), inhibits phenylephrine (PE)-induced contraction in rat aortic rings and these effects are diminished in endothelial-denuded rings. Therefore, employing rat aortic ring and in vivo models, we tested the hypothesis that nitric oxide (NO) contributes to ET's arterial effects. Compared with rings challenged with PA alone, ET (PA + EF) reduced PE-stimulated maximal contractile force (MCF) and increased the PE concentration producing 50% MCF (EC50) (P < 0.0001). Compared with placebo, l-nitro-arginine methyl-ester (l-NAME), an NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor, reduced ET's effects on MCF and EC50 in patterns that approached or were significant (P = 0.06 and 0.03, respectively). In animals challenged with 24-h ET infusions, l-NAME (0.5 or 1.0 mg·kg(-1)·h(-1)) coadministration increased survival to 17 of 28 animals (60.7%) compared with 4 of 27 (14.8%) given placebo (P = 0.01). Animals receiving l-NAME but no ET all survived. Compared with PBS challenge, ET increased NO levels at 24 h and l-NAME decreased these increases (P < 0.0001). ET infusion decreased mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) in placebo and l-NAME-treated animals (P < 0.0001) but l-NAME reduced decreases in MAP with ET from 9 to 24 h (P = 0.03 for the time interaction). S-methyl-l-thiocitrulline, a selective neuronal NOS inhibitor, had effects in rings and, at a high dose in vivo models, comparable to l-NAME, whereas N'-[3-(aminomethyl)benzyl]-acetimidamide, a selective inducible NOS inhibitor, did not. NO production contributes to ET's arterial relaxant, hypotensive, and lethal effects in the rat. PMID:27448553

  13. Inhibitors of the Metalloproteinase Anthrax Lethal Factor.

    PubMed

    Goldberg, Allison B; Turk, Benjamin E

    2016-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis, a rod shaped, spore forming, gram positive bacteria, is the etiological agent of anthrax. B. anthracis virulence is partly attributable to two secreted bipartite protein toxins, which act inside host cells to disrupt signaling pathways important for host defense against infection. These toxins may also directly contribute to mortality in late stage infection. The zinc-dependent metalloproteinase anthrax lethal factor (LF) is a critical component of one of these protein toxins and a prime target for inhibitor development to produce anthrax therapeutics. Here, we describe recent efforts to identify specific and potent LF inhibitors. Derivatization of peptide substrate analogs bearing zinc-binding groups has produced potent and specific LF inhibitors, and X-ray crystallography of LFinhibitor complexes has provided insight into features required for high affinity binding. Novel inhibitor scaffolds have been identified through several approaches, including fragment-based drug discovery, virtual screening, and highthroughput screening of diverse compound libraries. Lastly, efforts to discover LF inhibitors have led to the development of new screening strategies, such as the use of full-length proteins as substrates, that may prove useful for other proteases as well. Overall, these efforts have led to a collection of chemically and mechanistically diverse molecules capable of inhibiting LF activity in vitro and in cells, as well as in animal models of anthrax infection. PMID:27072692

  14. Pulmonary edema

    MedlinePlus

    ... congestion; Lung water; Pulmonary congestion; Heart failure - pulmonary edema ... Pulmonary edema is often caused by congestive heart failure . When the heart is not able to pump efficiently, blood ...

  15. ANTHRAX TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE DOCUMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Anthrax TAD was developed as an Interim Draft Final technical resource in November 2003. It is specifically for response to an actual or suspected terrorist release of anthrax (i.e., it is not intended for response to anthrax in agricultural settings.). The TAD was provided ...

  16. Presentation of peptides from Bacillus anthracis protective antigen on Tobacco Mosaic Virus as an epitope targeted anthrax vaccine.

    PubMed

    McComb, Ryan C; Ho, Chi-Lee; Bradley, Kenneth A; Grill, Laurence K; Martchenko, Mikhail

    2015-11-27

    The current anthrax vaccine requires improvements for rapidly invoking longer-lasting neutralizing antibody responses with fewer doses from a well-defined formulation. Designing antigens that target neutralizing antibody epitopes of anthrax protective antigen, a component of anthrax toxin, may offer a solution for achieving a vaccine that can induce strong and long lasting antibody responses with fewer boosters. Here we report implementation of a strategy for developing epitope focused virus nanoparticle vaccines against anthrax by using immunogenic virus particles to present peptides derived from anthrax toxin previously identified in (1) neutralizing antibody epitope mapping studies, (2) toxin crystal structure analyses to identify functional regions, and (3) toxin mutational analyses. We successfully expressed two of three peptide epitopes from anthrax toxin that, in previous reports, bound antibodies that were partially neutralizing against toxin activity, discovered cross-reactivity between vaccine constructs and toxin specific antibodies raised in goats against native toxin and showed that antibodies induced by our vaccine constructs also cross-react with native toxin. While protection against intoxication in cellular and animal studies were not as effective as in previous studies, partial toxin neutralization was observed in animals, demonstrating the feasibility of using plant-virus nanoparticles as a platform for epitope defined anthrax vaccines. PMID:26514421

  17. Different Roles of N-Terminal and C-Terminal Domains in Calmodulin for Activation of Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor

    PubMed Central

    Lübker, Carolin; Dove, Stefan; Tang, Wei-Jen; Urbauer, Ramona J. Bieber; Moskovitz, Jackob; Urbauer, Jeffrey L.; Seifert, Roland

    2015-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis adenylyl cyclase toxin edema factor (EF) is one component of the anthrax toxin and is essential for establishing anthrax disease. EF activation by the eukaryotic Ca2+-sensor calmodulin (CaM) leads to massive cAMP production resulting in edema. cAMP also inhibits the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-oxidase, thus reducing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) used for host defense in activated neutrophils and thereby facilitating bacterial growth. Methionine (Met) residues in CaM, important for interactions between CaM and its binding partners, can be oxidized by ROS. We investigated the impact of site-specific oxidation of Met in CaM on EF activation using thirteen CaM-mutants (CaM-mut) with Met to leucine (Leu) substitutions. EF activation shows high resistance to oxidative modifications in CaM. An intact structure in the C-terminal region of oxidized CaM is sufficient for major EF activation despite altered secondary structure in the N-terminal region associated with Met oxidation. The secondary structures of CaM-mut were determined and described in previous studies from our group. Thus, excess cAMP production and the associated impairment of host defence may be afforded even under oxidative conditions in activated neutrophils. PMID:26184312

  18. The anthrax vaccine: no new tricks for an old dog.

    PubMed

    Bienek, Diane R; Loomis, Lawrence J; Biagini, Raymond E

    2009-03-01

    The original license for production of the anthrax vaccine, Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA), was issued in 1970. Since that time, over 8 million AVA immunizations have been administered to 2+ million individuals. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, reviewed the safety and efficacy of AVA. They concluded that the vaccine is acceptably safe and effective in protecting humans against anthrax. The vaccine should protect people against all known strains of anthrax bacteria, as well as against any strains that might be created by potential terrorists or others. Although the Institute of Medicine concluded that AVA was reasonably safe, they noted that it is fairly common for people to experience local reactions (e.g., redness and swelling at the injection site) and for a smaller number to experience systemic reactions such as fever and malaise, within hours or days of vaccination. Results of animal studies done previously and subsequent to this report are generally in agreement. For instance, AVA vaccination increases the level of anthrax anti-protective antigen IgG (anti-PA IgG), which is thought to be one possible correlate of protection (although absolute protective concentrations have not been identified in humans). Anthrax lethal factor neutralization has also been identified as possibly being an important additional correlate of immunity. Future vaccine research efforts include developing a recombinant anthrax vaccine and anthrax monoclonal antibodies to block the anthrax toxin(s). It is projected that the next-generation vaccine will elicit a markedly increased anti-anthrax immune response within a shorter time period and consequently, will enable the easier inoculations of individuals working within high-risk areas. PMID:19270504

  19. An overview of anthrax infection including the recently identified form of disease in injection drug users

    PubMed Central

    Hicks, Caitlin W.; Sweeney, Daniel A.; Cui, Xizhong; Li, Yan

    2012-01-01

    Purpose Bacillus anthracis infection (anthrax) can be highly lethal. Two recent outbreaks related to contaminated mail in the USA and heroin in the UK and Europe and its potential as a bioterrorist weapon have greatly increased concerns over anthrax in the developed world. Methods This review summarizes the microbiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of anthrax. Results and conclusions Anthrax, a gram-positive bacterium, has typically been associated with three forms of infection: cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and inhalational. However, the anthrax outbreak among injection drug users has emphasized the importance of what is now considered a fourth disease form (i.e., injectional anthrax) that is characterized by severe soft tissue infection. While cutaneous anthrax is most common, its early stages are distinct and prompt appropriate treatment commonly produces a good outcome. However, early symptoms with the other three disease forms can be nonspecific and mistaken for less lethal conditions. As a result, patients with gastrointestinal, inhalational, or injectional anthrax may have advanced infection at presentation that can be highly lethal. Once anthrax is suspected, the diagnosis can usually be made with gram stain and culture from blood or tissue followed by confirmatory testing (e.g., PCR). While antibiotics are the mainstay of anthrax treatment, use of adjunctive therapies such as anthrax toxin antagonists are a consideration. Prompt surgical therapy appears to be important for successful management of injectional anthrax. PMID:22527064

  20. Rapid vascular responses to anthrax lethal toxin in mice containing a segment of chromosome 11 from the CAST/Ei strain on a C57BL/6 genetic background.

    PubMed

    Weigel, Kelsey J; Rues, Laura; Doyle, Edward J; Buchheit, Cassandra L; Wood, John G; Gallagher, Ryan J; Kelly, Laura E; Radel, Jeffrey D; Bradley, Kenneth A; LeVine, Steven M

    2012-01-01

    Host allelic variation controls the response to B. anthracis and the disease course of anthrax. Mouse strains with macrophages that are responsive to anthrax lethal toxin (LT) show resistance to infection while mouse strains with LT non-responsive macrophages succumb more readily. B6.CAST.11M mice have a region of chromosome 11 from the CAST/Ei strain (a LT responsive strain) introgressed onto a LT non-responsive C57BL/6J genetic background. Previously, B6.CAST.11M mice were found to exhibit a rapid inflammatory reaction to LT termed the early response phenotype (ERP), and displayed greater resistance to B. anthracis infection compared to C57BL/6J mice. Several ERP features (e.g., bloat, hypothermia, labored breathing, dilated pinnae vessels) suggested vascular involvement. To test this, Evan's blue was used to assess vessel leakage and intravital microscopy was used to monitor microvascular blood flow. Increased vascular leakage was observed in lungs of B6.CAST.11M mice compared to C57BL/6J mice 1 hour after systemic administration of LT. Capillary blood flow was reduced in the small intestine mesentery without concomitant leukocyte emigration following systemic or topical application of LT, the latter suggesting a localized tissue mechanism in this response. Since LT activates the Nlrp1b inflammasome in B6.CAST.11M mice, the roles of inflammasome products, IL-1β and IL-18, were examined. Topical application to the mesentery of IL-1β but not IL-18 revealed pronounced slowing of blood flow in B6.CAST.11M mice that was not present in C57BL/6J mice. A neutralizing anti-IL-1β antibody suppressed the slowing of blood flow induced by LT, indicating a role for IL-1β in the response. Besides allelic differences controlling Nlrp1b inflammasome activation by LT observed previously, evidence presented here suggests that an additional genetic determinant(s) could regulate the vascular response to IL-1β. These results demonstrate that vessel leakage and alterations to

  1. Inhibition of Interleukin 1β (IL-1β) Expression by Anthrax Lethal Toxin (LeTx) Is Reversed by Histone Deacetylase 8 (HDAC8) Inhibition in Murine Macrophages.

    PubMed

    Ha, Soon-Duck; Reid, Chantelle; Meshkibaf, Shahab; Kim, Sung Ouk

    2016-04-15

    Many pathogenic microbes often release toxins that subvert the host's immune responses to render the environment suitable for their survival and proliferation. LeTx is one of the toxins causing immune paralysis by cleaving and inactivating the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinases (MEKs). Here, we show that inhibition of the histone deacetylase 8 (HDAC8) by either the HDAC8-specific inhibitor PCI-34051 or small interference (si)RNAs rendered LeTx-exposed murine macrophages responsive to LPS in pro-IL-1β production. HDAC8 selectively targeted acetylated histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27Ac), which is known to associate with active enhancers. LeTx induced HDAC8 expression, in part through inhibiting p38 MAPK, which resulted in a decrease of H3K27Ac levels. Inhibition of HDAC8 increased H3K27Ac levels and enhanced NF-κB-mediated pro-IL-1β enhancer and messenger RNA production in LeTx-exposed macrophages. Collectively, this study demonstrates a novel role of HDAC8 in LeTx immunotoxicity and regulation of pro-IL-1β production likely through eRNAs. Targeting HDAC8 could be a strategy for enhancing immune responses in macrophages exposed to LeTx or other toxins that inhibit MAPKs. PMID:26912657

  2. A review of cutaneous anthrax and its outcome.

    PubMed

    Doganay, Mehmet; Metan, Gokhan; Alp, Emine

    2010-01-01

    Anthrax is still an endemic disease in some countries in the world and has become a re-emerging disease in western countries with recent intentional outbreak. The aim of this study was to review our clinical experience with cutaneous anthrax cases. From the patient's files, transmission of the diseases, clinical findings and severity of infection, treatment and outcome of patients were recorded. Twenty-two cases were diagnosed as cutaneous anthrax in the last 7 years. Of these cases, 10 cases were severe form of cutaneous anthrax, 10 cases were mild form and 2 cases were toxemic shock due to cutaneous anthrax. The incubation period was between 1 and 17 days. The main clinical characteristics of the cases with severe cutaneous anthrax were fever, hemorrhagic bullous lesions surrounded by an extensive erythema and edema, and leukocytosis. Two cases with toxemic shock had low systolic blood pressure, apathy and toxemic appearance, leukocytosis, hypoalbuminemia & hyponatremia. Penicillin G was given in 15 cases, amoxicillin in 4 and other antibiotics in 3 cases for 3-10 days. Skin lesion left deep tissue scar in 4 cases and were grafted. Physicians working in endemic areas and also in western countries should be aware of all clinical forms of anthrax. PMID:20869669

  3. The Role of NF-κB and H3K27me3 Demethylase, Jmjd3, on the Anthrax Lethal Toxin Tolerance of RAW 264.7 Cells

    PubMed Central

    Das, Nando Dulal; Jung, Kyoung Hwa; Chai, Young Gyu

    2010-01-01

    Background In Bacillus anthracis, lethal toxin (LeTx) is a critical virulence factor that causes immune suppression and toxic shock in the infected host. NF-κB is a key mediator of the inflammatory response and is crucial for the plasticity of first level immune cells such as macrophages, monocytes and neutrophils. In macrophages, this inflammatory response, mediated by NF-κB, can regulate host defense against invading pathogens. A Jumonji C family histone 3 lysine-27 (H3K27) demethylase, Jmjd3, plays a crucial role in macrophage plasticity and inflammation. Here we report that NF-κB and Jmjd3 can modulate the LeTx intoxication resistance of RAW 264.7 cells. Principal Findings This study showed that a 2 h exposure of macrophages to LeTx caused substantial cell death with a survival rate of around 40%. The expression of the Jmjd3 gene was induced 8-fold in intoxication-resistant cells generated by treatment with lipopolysaccharides of RAW 264.7 cells. These intoxication-resistant cell lines (PLx intox and PLxL intox) were maintained for 8 passages and had a survival rate of around 100% on secondary exposure to LeTx and lipopolysaccharides. Analysis of NF-κB gene expression showed that the expression of p100, p50 and p65 was induced around 20, 7 and 4 fold, respectively, in both of the intoxication-resistant cell lines following a 2 h treatment with PLxL (0.1+0.1+1 µg/ml). In contrast, these NF-κB genes were not induced following treatment with PLx treatment at the same concentrations. Conclusions Although LeTx influences macrophage physiology and causes defects of some key signaling pathways such as GSK3β which contributes to cytotoxicity, these results indicate that modulation of NF-κB by p50, p100 and Jmjd3 could be vital for the recovery of murine macrophages from exposure to the anthrax lethal toxin. PMID:20360974

  4. ANTHRAX PROBLEM IN MASSACHUSETTS

    PubMed Central

    Osborn, Stanley H.

    1920-01-01

    Federal regulations do not prevent importation of anthrax infected material. This author suggests anthrax surveys in countries of origin of materials, quarantine of all hides, wool and hair from suspected areas, disinfection of these at places of origin and sanitary care here of wastes from hide and wool industrial establishments. Imagesp665-a PMID:18010353

  5. Investigation of a panel of monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal sera against anthrax toxins resulted in identification of an anti-lethal factor antibody with disease-enhancing characteristics.

    PubMed

    Kulshreshtha, Parul; Tiwari, Ashutosh; Priyanka; Joon, Shikha; Sinha, Subrata; Bhatnagar, Rakesh

    2015-12-01

    Hybridomas were created using spleen of mice that were actively immunized with rLFn (recombinant N-terminal domain of lethal factor). Later on, separate group of mice were immunized with rLFn to obtain a polyclonal control for passive immunization studies of monoclonal antibodies. This led to the identification of one cohort of rLFn-immnized mice that harboured disease-enhancing polyclonal antibodies. At the same time, the monoclonal antibodies secreted by all the hybridomas were being tested. Two hybridomas secreted monoclonal antibodies (H10 and H8) that were cross-reactive with EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor), while the other two hybridomas secreted LF-specific antibodies (H7 and H11). Single chain variable fragment (LETscFv) was derived from H10 hybridoma. H11 was found to have disease-enhancing property. Combination of H11 with protective monoclonal antibodies (H8 and H10) reduced its disease enhancing nature. This in vitro abrogation of disease-enhancement provides the proof of concept that in polyclonal sera the disease enhancing character of a fraction of antibodies is overshadowed by the protective nature of the rest of the antibodies generated on active immunization. PMID:26364143

  6. Clinical findings in children with cutaneous anthrax in eastern Turkey.

    PubMed

    Akbayram, Sinan; Doğan, Murat; Akgün, Cihangir; Peker, Erdal; Bektaş, M Selçuk; Kaya, Avni; Caksen, Hüseyin; Oner, Ahmet Faik

    2010-01-01

    Anthrax is a zoonosis produced by Bacillus anthracis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical findings, therapy, and outcome in children with cutaneous anthrax (CA). Data on age, gender, occupation, clinical symptoms and findings, location and type of lesions, clinical history, laboratory findings, treatment, and outcome were recorded from patients' medical records, retrospectively. The study included 65 patients between 1 month and 18 years old (9.0±4.0 years), 37 patients (56.9%) were male and 28 (43.1%) were female. Most of the patients (89.1%) were admitted in summer and autumn (p<0.001). Of the 65 patients, 20 patients (30.8%) had received antibiotherapy before admission to our hospital. All patients except one had a contact history with infected animals. A 1-month-old patient had a contact history with his mother who had CA. On clinical examination, anthrax edema was noted in 36 (55.3%) patients, anthrax pustule in 27 (41.5%), and anthrax edema and anthrax pustule in two (3%) patients. Gram staining and culture was positive for B. anthracis in 35 (53.8%) patients, and only Gram staining was positive in 10 (15.4%) patients. In the remaining 20 (30.8%) patients, the diagnosis was made by clinical findings. Because the anthrax outbreak in Turkey was associated with slaughtering or milking of ill cows, sheep, or goats, and handling raw meat without taking any protective measures, persons in the community must be educated about using personal protective equipment during slaughtering of animals and handling of meat and skins. PMID:21083757

  7. Anthrax Lethal Toxin Induced Lysosomal Membrane Permeabilization and Cytosolic Cathepsin Release Is Nlrp1b/Nalp1b-Dependent

    PubMed Central

    Averette, Kathleen M.; Pratt, Matthew R.; Yang, Yanan; Bassilian, Sara; Whitelegge, Julian P.; Loo, Joseph A.; Muir, Tom W.; Bradley, Kenneth A.

    2009-01-01

    NOD-like receptors (NLRs) are a group of cytoplasmic molecules that recognize microbial invasion or ‘danger signals’. Activation of NLRs can induce rapid caspase-1 dependent cell death termed pyroptosis, or a caspase-1 independent cell death termed pyronecrosis. Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin (LT), is recognized by a subset of alleles of the NLR protein Nlrp1b, resulting in pyroptotic cell death of macrophages and dendritic cells. Here we show that LT induces lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP). The presentation of LMP requires expression of an LT-responsive allele of Nlrp1b, and is blocked by proteasome inhibitors and heat shock, both of which prevent LT-mediated pyroptosis. Further the lysosomal protease cathepsin B is released into the cell cytosol and cathepsin inhibitors block LT-mediated cell death. These data reveal a role for lysosomal membrane permeabilization in the cellular response to bacterial pathogens and demonstrate a shared requirement for cytosolic relocalization of cathepsins in pyroptosis and pyronecrosis. PMID:19924255

  8. Anthrax lethal toxin impairs CD1d-mediated antigen presentation by targeting the extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.

    PubMed

    Khan, Masood A; Gallo, Richard M; Brutkiewicz, Randy R

    2010-05-01

    Lethal toxin (LT) is a critical virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis and an important means by which this bacterium evades the host's immune system. In this study, we demonstrate that CD1d-expressing cells treated with LT have reduced CD1d-mediated antigen presentation. We earlier showed an important role for the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in the regulation of CD1d-mediated antigen presentation, and we report here that LT impairs antigen presentation by CD1d in an ERK1/2-dependent manner. Similarly, LT and the ERK1/2 pathway-specific inhibitor U0126 caused a decrease in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-mediated antigen presentation. Confocal microscopy analyses revealed altered intracellular distribution of CD1d and LAMP-1 in LT-treated cells, similar to the case for ERK1/2-inhibited cells. These results suggest that Bacillus anthracis has the ability to evade the host's innate immune system by reducing CD1d-mediated antigen presentation through targeting the ERK1/2 pathway. PMID:20194602

  9. [Anthrax--continuous threat to humans and animals].

    PubMed

    Mizak, Lidia

    2004-01-01

    Gram-positive, spore-forming, aerobic bacterium Bacillus anthracis is an etiological agent of anthrax a disease very dangerous to humans and all warm-blooded animals. The spore forms are markedly resistant to unfavourable environmental extremes of heat, cold, desiccation, chemicals, irradiation etc. The vegetative forms characterised virulence factors: the antiphagocytic poly-gamma-D-polipeptide capsule and three proteins, edema factor (EF), lethal factor (LF) and protective antigen (PA). Anthrax is mainly transmitted from animals to man through food of animal origin, animal products and contamination of the environment with B. anthracis and its spores. There are three types of this disease: cutaneous, intestinal and inhalation anthrax. Research on anthrax as a biological weapon began more then 80 years ago. Depending on the target chosen and the scale of the attack the anthrax spores may by used to contaminate of foodstuffs or liquids and water. The aerosolised release of anthrax spore can cause illness with a high fatality rate. PMID:15517814

  10. Anthrax-associated shock.

    PubMed

    Goldman, David L; Casadevall, Arturo

    2008-01-01

    Recent events have brought attention to the potential of Bacillus anthracis as an agent of bioterrorism. The shock like state of anthrax is invariably associated with high mortality, despite anti-microbial and supportive therapy. Multi-system dysfunction is typical, including: enhanced vascular permeability, hemorrhage and inflammation. Important questions concerning the pathophysiology of anthrax-associated shock remain unanswered, including the effects of B. anthracis infection on cardiac function. This review discusses the current state of knowledge regarding the pathophysiology of anthrax-associated shock. PMID:18508494

  11. Development of a Sterne-Based Complement Fixation Test to Monitor the Humoral Response Induced by Anthrax Vaccines.

    PubMed

    Adone, Rosanna; Sali, Michela; Francia, Massimiliano; Iatarola, Michela; Donatiello, Adelia; Fasanella, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis spore-forming bacterium. Since it is primarily a disease of animals, the control in animals, and humans depend on the prevention in livestock, principally cattle, sheep, and goats. Most veterinary vaccines utilize the toxigenic, uncapsulated (pXO1+/pXO2-) B. anthracis strain 34F2 which affords protection through the production of neutralizing antibodies directed to the toxin components Protective Antigen (PA), Lethal Factor (LF), and Edema Factor (EF). The titration of specific antibodies in sera of vaccinated animals is crucial to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccination and to obtain epidemiological information for an effective anthrax surveillance. In this study, we developed a Sterne-based Complement Fixation Test (CFT) to detect specific antibodies induced in animals vaccinated with Sterne 34F2. We assessed its efficacy in laboratory animals and under field conditions by monitoring the humoral response induced by vaccination in cattle. The results indicated that the Sterne-based CFT is able to correctly identify vaccinated animals. It proved to be a very sensitive and specific test. Moreover, the Sterne-based CFT offers many benefits with regard to costs, standardization and reproducibility of the assay procedure. PMID:26858700

  12. Development of a Sterne-Based Complement Fixation Test to Monitor the Humoral Response Induced by Anthrax Vaccines

    PubMed Central

    Adone, Rosanna; Sali, Michela; Francia, Massimiliano; Iatarola, Michela; Donatiello, Adelia; Fasanella, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis spore-forming bacterium. Since it is primarily a disease of animals, the control in animals, and humans depend on the prevention in livestock, principally cattle, sheep, and goats. Most veterinary vaccines utilize the toxigenic, uncapsulated (pXO1+/pXO2–) B. anthracis strain 34F2 which affords protection through the production of neutralizing antibodies directed to the toxin components Protective Antigen (PA), Lethal Factor (LF), and Edema Factor (EF). The titration of specific antibodies in sera of vaccinated animals is crucial to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccination and to obtain epidemiological information for an effective anthrax surveillance. In this study, we developed a Sterne-based Complement Fixation Test (CFT) to detect specific antibodies induced in animals vaccinated with Sterne 34F2. We assessed its efficacy in laboratory animals and under field conditions by monitoring the humoral response induced by vaccination in cattle. The results indicated that the Sterne-based CFT is able to correctly identify vaccinated animals. It proved to be a very sensitive and specific test. Moreover, the Sterne-based CFT offers many benefits with regard to costs, standardization and reproducibility of the assay procedure. PMID:26858700

  13. ANTHRAX REMEDIATION RESEARCH NEEDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a research program to respond to the immediate needs arising from the recent Bacillus anthracis bioterrorism events. Although the program has a strong emphasis on anthrax, other pathogens and chemical agents, including toxic indu...

  14. Anthrax blood test

    MedlinePlus

    ... test; Antibody test for anthrax; Serologic test for B anthracis ... Hall GS, Woods GL. Medical bacteriology. In: McPherson RA, Pincus ... Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 57. Martin GJ, ...

  15. Anthrax vaccination strategies

    PubMed Central

    Cybulski, Robert J.; Sanz, Patrick; O'Brien, Alison D.

    2009-01-01

    The biological attack conducted through the U.S. postal system in 2001 broadened the threat posed by anthrax from one pertinent mainly to soldiers on the battlefield to one understood to exist throughout our society. The expansion of the threatened population placed greater emphasis on the reexamination of how we vaccinate against Bacillus anthracis. The currently-licensed Anthrax Vaccine, Adsorbed (AVA) and Anthrax Vaccine, Precipitated (AVP) are capable of generating a protective immune response but are hampered by shortcomings that make their widespread use undesirable or infeasible. Efforts to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for licensure of a second generation recombinant protective antigen (rPA)-based anthrax vaccine are ongoing. However, this vaccine's reliance on the generation of a humoral immune response against a single virulence factor has led a number of scientists to conclude that the vaccine is likely not the final solution to optimal anthrax vaccine design. Other vaccine approaches, which seek a more comprehensive immune response targeted at multiple components of the B. anthracis organism, are under active investigation. This review seeks to summarize work that has been done to build on the current PA-based vaccine methodology and to evaluate the search for future anthrax prophylaxis strategies. PMID:19729034

  16. Deletion modification enhances anthrax specific immunity and protective efficacy of a hepatitis B core particle-based anthrax epitope vaccine.

    PubMed

    Yin, Ying; Zhang, Sheng; Cai, Chenguang; Zhang, Jun; Dong, Dayong; Guo, Qiang; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Chen, Wei

    2014-02-01

    Protective antigen (PA) is one of the major virulence factors of anthrax and is also the major constituent of the current anthrax vaccine. Previously, we found that the 2β2-2β3 loop of PA contains a dominant neutralizing epitope, the SFFD. We successfully inserted the 2β2-2β3 loop of PA into the major immunodominant region (MIR) of hepatitis B virus core (HBc) protein. The resulting fusion protein, termed HBc-N144-PA-loop2 (HBcL2), can effectively produce anthrax specific protective antibodies in an animal model. However, the protective immunity caused by HBcL2 could still be improved. In this research, we removed amino acids 79-81 from the HBc MIR of the HBcL2. This region was previously reported to be the major B cell epitope of HBc, and in keeping with this finding, we observed that the short deletion in the MIR not only diminished the intrinsic immunogenicity of HBc but also stimulated a higher titer of anthrax specific immunity. Most importantly, this deletion led to the full protection of the immunized mice against a lethal dose anthrax toxin challenge. We supposed that the conformational changes which occurred after the short deletion and foreign insertion in the MIR of HBc were the most likely reasons for the improvement in the immunogenicity of the HBc-based anthrax epitope vaccine. PMID:24054942

  17. Antitoxin Treatment of Inhalation Anthrax: A Systematic Review.

    PubMed

    Huang, Eileen; Pillai, Satish K; Bower, William A; Hendricks, Katherine A; Guarnizo, Julie T; Hoyle, Jamechia D; Gorman, Susan E; Boyer, Anne E; Quinn, Conrad P; Meaney-Delman, Dana

    2015-01-01

    Concern about use of anthrax as a bioweapon prompted development of novel anthrax antitoxins for treatment. Clinical guidelines for the treatment of anthrax recommend antitoxin therapy in combination with intravenous antimicrobials; however, a large-scale or mass anthrax incident may exceed antitoxin availability and create a need for judicious antitoxin use. We conducted a systematic review of antitoxin treatment of inhalation anthrax in humans and experimental animals to inform antitoxin recommendations during a large-scale or mass anthrax incident. A comprehensive search of 11 databases and the FDA website was conducted to identify relevant animal studies and human reports: 28 animal studies and 3 human cases were identified. Antitoxin monotherapy at or shortly after symptom onset demonstrates increased survival compared to no treatment in animals. With early treatment, survival did not differ between antimicrobial monotherapy and antimicrobial-antitoxin therapy in nonhuman primates and rabbits. With delayed treatment, antitoxin-antimicrobial treatment increased rabbit survival. Among human cases, addition of antitoxin to combination antimicrobial treatment was associated with survival in 2 of the 3 cases treated. Despite the paucity of human data, limited animal data suggest that adjunctive antitoxin therapy may improve survival. Delayed treatment studies suggest improved survival with combined antitoxin-antimicrobial therapy, although a survival difference compared with antimicrobial therapy alone was not demonstrated statistically. In a mass anthrax incident with limited antitoxin supplies, antitoxin treatment of individuals who have not demonstrated a clinical benefit from antimicrobials, or those who present with more severe illness, may be warranted. Additional pathophysiology studies are needed, and a point-of-care assay correlating toxin levels with clinical status may provide important information to guide antitoxin use during a large-scale anthrax

  18. Pulmonary Edema

    PubMed Central

    Tanser, Paul H.

    1980-01-01

    The physician who deals with pulmonary edema from a pathophysiologic basis will seldom make a diagnostic or therapeutic error. Recent additions to preload and afterload therapy have greatly helped in the emergency and ambulatory treatment of pulmonary edema due to left heart failure. Careful follow-up and patient self-monitoring are the most effective means of reducing hospitalization of chronic heart failure patients. PMID:21293700

  19. Toxins as Weapons: A Historical Review.

    PubMed

    Pita, R; Romero, A

    2014-07-01

    This review article summarizes the use of toxins as weapons dating from the First World War until today, when there is a high concern of possible terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction. All through modern history, military programs and terrorist groups have favored toxins because of their high toxicity. However, difficulties of extraction or synthesis, as well as effective dissemination to cause a large number of casualties, have been the most important drawbacks. Special emphasis is focused on ricin and botulinum toxin, the most important toxins that have attracted the attention of military programs and terrorist groups. Other toxins like trichothecenes, saxitoxin, and Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) are also discussed. A short section about anthrax is also included: Although Bacillus anthracis is considered a biological weapon rather than a toxin weapon, it produces a toxin that is finally responsible for the anthrax disease. PMID:26227025

  20. Anthrax in the Gambia: an epidemiological study

    PubMed Central

    Heyworth, B; Ropp, M E; Voos, U G; Meinel, H I; Darlow, H M

    1975-01-01

    Epidemiological data on 448 cases of human cutaneous anthrax from the Gambia showed that this particular strain of anthrax bacillus causes widespread morbidity and some mortality with, at the same time, subclinical infection. Analysis also showed that anthrax is not an occupationally related disease in the Gambia. The possibility of human-to-human spread, affecting all age groups and both sexes, by means of a communal toilet article was also shown. The fact that the strain is a good toxin producer but contains a weak antigen may have accounted for the repeated clinical infection and the fact that antibody titres were generally transient. Subclinical infection in animals was also found, particularly in sheep and goats, and also, with an unusually low mortality, in cows. Insect vectors were not excluded, but were unlikely. Vultures may spread the disease from village to village. Some possible public health and immunization procedures are discussed, with a view to containing this difficult problem in this part of west Africa. PMID:810213

  1. Nanopore Biosensor for Label-Free and Real-Time Detection of Anthrax Lethal Factor

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    We report a label-free real-time nanopore sensing method for the detection of anthrax lethal factor, a component of the anthrax toxin, by using a complementary single-stranded DNA as a molecular probe. The method is rapid and sensitive: sub-nanomolar concentrations of the target anthrax lethal factor DNA could be detected in ∼1 min. Further, our method is selective, which can differentiate the target DNA from other single-stranded DNA molecules at the single-base resolution. This sequence-specific detection approach should find useful application in the development of nanopore sensors for the detection of other pathogens. PMID:24806593

  2. A conserved motif in transmembrane helix 1 of diphtheria toxin mediates catalytic domain delivery to the cytosol

    PubMed Central

    Ratts, Ryan; Trujillo, Carolina; Bharti, Ajit; vanderSpek, Johanna; Harrison, Robert; Murphy, John R.

    2005-01-01

    A 10-aa motif in transmembrane helix 1 of diphtheria toxin that is conserved in anthrax edema factor, anthrax lethal factor, and botulinum neurotoxin serotypes A, C, and D was identified by blast, clustal w, and meme computational analysis. Using the diphtheria toxin-related fusion protein toxin DAB389IL-2, we demonstrate that introduction of the L221E mutation into a highly conserved residue within this motif results in a nontoxic catalytic domain translocation deficient phenotype. To further probe the function of this motif in the process by which the catalytic domain is delivered from the lumen of early endosomes to the cytosol, we constructed a gene encoding a portion of diphtheria toxin transmembrane helix 1, T1, which carries the motif and is expressed from a CMV promoter. We then isolated stable transfectants of Hut102/6TG cells that express the T1 peptide, Hut102/6TG-T1. In contrast to the parental cell line, Hut102/6TG-T1 cells are ca. 104-fold more resistant to the fusion protein toxin. This resistance is completely reversed by coexpression of small interfering RNA directed against the gene encoding the T1 peptide in Hut102/6TG-T1 cells. We further demonstrate by GST-DT140-271 pull-down experiments in the presence and absence of synthetic T1 peptides the specific binding of coatomer protein complex subunit β to this region of the diphtheria toxin transmembrane domain. PMID:16230620

  3. Evaluation of Intravenous Anthrax Immune Globulin for Treatment of Inhalation Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Mytle, Nutan; Hopkins, Robert J.; Malkevich, Nina V.; Basu, Subhendu; Meister, Gabriel T.; Sanford, Daniel C.; Comer, Jason E.; Van Zandt, Kristopher E.; Al-Ibrahim, Mohamed; Kramer, William G.; Howard, Cris; Daczkowski, Nancy; Chakrabarti, Ajoy C.; Ionin, Boris; Nabors, Gary S.

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis toxins can be neutralized by antibodies against protective antigen (PA), a component of anthrax toxins. Anthrivig (human anthrax immunoglobulin), also known as AIGIV, derived from plasma of humans immunized with BioThrax (anthrax vaccine adsorbed), is under development for the treatment of toxemia following exposure to anthrax spores. The pharmacokinetics (PK) of AIGIV was assessed in naive animals and healthy human volunteers, and the efficacy of AIGIV was assessed in animals exposed via inhalation to aerosolized B. anthracis spores. In the clinical study, safety, tolerability, and PK were evaluated in three dose cohorts (3.5, 7.1, and 14.2 mg/kg of body weight of anti-PA IgG) with 30 volunteers per cohort. The elimination half-life of AIGIV in rabbits, nonhuman primates (NHPs), and humans following intravenous infusion was estimated to be approximately 4, 12, and 24 days, respectively, and dose proportionality was observed. In a time-based treatment study, AIGIV protected 89 to 100% of animals when administered 12 h postexposure; however, a lower survival rate of 39% was observed when animals were treated 24 h postexposure, underscoring the need for early intervention. In a separate set of studies, animals were treated on an individual basis upon detection of a clinical sign or biomarker of disease, namely, a significant increase in body temperature (SIBT) in rabbits and presence of PA in the serum of NHPs. In these trigger-based intervention studies, AIGIV induced up to 75% survival in rabbits depending on the dose and severity of toxemia at the time of treatment. In NHPs, up to 33% survival was observed in AIGIV-treated animals. (The clinical study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00845650.) PMID:23979731

  4. Anthrax Lethal Factor as an Immune Target in Humans and Transgenic Mice and the Impact of HLA Polymorphism on CD4+ T Cell Immunity

    PubMed Central

    Ascough, Stephanie; Ingram, Rebecca J.; Chu, Karen K.; Reynolds, Catherine J.; Musson, Julie A.; Doganay, Mehmet; Metan, Gökhan; Ozkul, Yusuf; Baillie, Les; Sriskandan, Shiranee; Moore, Stephen J.; Gallagher, Theresa B.; Dyson, Hugh; Williamson, E. Diane; Robinson, John H.; Maillere, Bernard; Boyton, Rosemary J.; Altmann, Daniel M.

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus anthracis produces a binary toxin composed of protective antigen (PA) and one of two subunits, lethal factor (LF) or edema factor (EF). Most studies have concentrated on induction of toxin-specific antibodies as the correlate of protective immunity, in contrast to which understanding of cellular immunity to these toxins and its impact on infection is limited. We characterized CD4+ T cell immunity to LF in a panel of humanized HLA-DR and DQ transgenic mice and in naturally exposed patients. As the variation in antigen presentation governed by HLA polymorphism has a major impact on protective immunity to specific epitopes, we examined relative binding affinities of LF peptides to purified HLA class II molecules, identifying those regions likely to be of broad applicability to human immune studies through their ability to bind multiple alleles. Transgenics differing only in their expression of human HLA class II alleles showed a marked hierarchy of immunity to LF. Immunogenicity in HLA transgenics was primarily restricted to epitopes from domains II and IV of LF and promiscuous, dominant epitopes, common to all HLA types, were identified in domain II. The relevance of this model was further demonstrated by the fact that a number of the immunodominant epitopes identified in mice were recognized by T cells from humans previously infected with cutaneous anthrax and from vaccinated individuals. The ability of the identified epitopes to confer protective immunity was demonstrated by lethal anthrax challenge of HLA transgenic mice immunized with a peptide subunit vaccine comprising the immunodominant epitopes that we identified. PMID:24788397

  5. Evaluation of Recombinant Forms of the Shiga Toxin Variant Stx2eB Subunit and Non-Toxic Mutant Stx2e as Vaccine Candidates against Porcine Edema Disease

    PubMed Central

    SATO, Toshio; MATSUI, Takeshi; TAKITA, Eiji; KADOYAMA, Yumiko; MAKINO, Sou-Ichi; KATO, Ko; SAWADA, Kazutoshi; HAMABATA, Takashi

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT Porcine edema disease (ED) is a communicable disease of shoats caused by infection with Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli. Stx2e is classified as a 1A5B-type toxin and is a decisive virulence determinant of ED. The single A subunit of Stx2e possesses enzymatic activity and is accompanied by a pentamer of B subunits, which binds to the host receptor and delivers the A subunit into the cell. In the present study, we used a mouse model to evaluate the immunogenicity of 3 ED vaccine candidates: a non-toxic mutant holotoxin mStx2e and 2 Stx2eB-based fusion proteins, Stx2eA2B-His and Stx2eB-His. Systemic inoculation of mice with mStx2e- and the Stx2eB-derived antigens induced anti-Stx2e IgG responses that were fully and partially capable of neutralizing Stx2e cellular cytotoxicity, respectively. Intranasal immunization with mStx2e protected the mice from subsequent intraperitoneal challenge with a lethal dose of Stx2e, whereas immunization with Stx2eA2B-His and Stx2eB-His afforded partial protection. Analysis of serum cytokines revealed that mStx2e, but not the Stx2eB-based antigens, was capable of inducing a Th2-type immune response. These results suggest that although the Stx2eB-based antigens elicited an immune response to Stx2e, they did so through a different mechanism to the Th2-type response induced by mStx2e. PMID:23728257

  6. Methods for neutralizing anthrax or anthrax spores

    DOEpatents

    Sloan, Mark A; Vivekandanda, Jeevalatha; Holwitt, Eric A; Kiel, Johnathan L

    2013-02-26

    The present invention concerns methods, compositions and apparatus for neutralizing bioagents, wherein bioagents comprise biowarfare agents, biohazardous agents, biological agents and/or infectious agents. The methods comprise exposing the bioagent to an organic semiconductor and exposing the bioagent and organic semiconductor to a source of energy. Although any source of energy is contemplated, in some embodiments the energy comprises visible light, ultraviolet, infrared, radiofrequency, microwave, laser radiation, pulsed corona discharge or electron beam radiation. Exemplary organic semiconductors include DAT and DALM. In certain embodiments, the organic semiconductor may be attached to one or more binding moieties, such as an antibody, antibody fragment, or nucleic acid ligand. Preferably, the binding moiety has a binding affinity for one or more bioagents to be neutralized. Other embodiments concern an apparatus comprising an organic semiconductor and an energy source. In preferred embodiments, the methods, compositions and apparatus are used for neutralizing anthrax spores.

  7. Pediatric Anthrax Clinical Management

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, John S.; Peacock, Georgina; Krug, Steven E.; Bower, William A.; Cohn, Amanda C.; Meaney-Delman, Dana; Pavia, Andrew T.

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which has multiple routes of infection in humans, manifesting in different initial presentations of disease. Because B anthracis has the potential to be used as a biological weapon and can rapidly progress to systemic anthrax with high mortality in those who are exposed and untreated, clinical guidance that can be quickly implemented must be in place before any intentional release of the agent. This document provides clinical guidance for the prophylaxis and treatment of neonates, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults up to the age of 21 (referred to as “children”) in the event of a deliberate B anthracis release and offers guidance in areas where the unique characteristics of children dictate a different clinical recommendation from adults. PMID:24777226

  8. Mapping the epitopes of a neutralizing antibody fragment directed against the lethal factor of Bacillus anthracis and cross-reacting with the homologous edema factor.

    PubMed

    Thullier, Philippe; Avril, Arnaud; Mathieu, Jacques; Behrens, Christian K; Pellequer, Jean-Luc; Pelat, Thibaut

    2013-01-01

    The lethal toxin (LT) of Bacillus anthracis, composed of the protective antigen (PA) and the lethal factor (LF), plays an essential role in anthrax pathogenesis. PA also interacts with the edema factor (EF, 20% identity with LF) to form the edema toxin (ET), which has a lesser role in anthrax pathogenesis. The first recombinant antibody fragment directed against LF was scFv 2LF; it neutralizes LT by blocking the interaction between PA and LF. Here, we report that scFv 2LF cross-reacts with EF and cross-neutralizes ET, and we present an in silico method taking advantage of this cross-reactivity to map the epitope of scFv 2LF on both LF and EF. This method identified five epitope candidates on LF, constituted of a total of 32 residues, which were tested experimentally by mutating the residues to alanine. This combined approach precisely identified the epitope of scFv 2LF on LF as five residues (H229, R230, Q234, L235 and Y236), of which three were missed by the consensus epitope candidate identified by pre-existing in silico methods. The homolog of this epitope on EF (H253, R254, E258, L259 and Y260) was experimentally confirmed to constitute the epitope of scFv 2LF on EF. Other inhibitors, including synthetic molecules, could be used to target these epitopes for therapeutic purposes. The in silico method presented here may be of more general interest. PMID:23741517

  9. Anthrax Spores under a microscope

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    Anthrax spores are inactive forms of Bacillus anthracis. They can survive for decades inside a spore's tough protective coating; they become active when inhaled by humans. A result of NASA- and industry-sponsored research to develop small greenhouses for space research is the unique AiroCide TiO2 system that kills anthrax spores and other pathogens.

  10. Quantitative high throughput screening identifies inhibitors of anthrax-induced cell death

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Ping Jun; Hobson, Peyton; Southall, Noel; Qiu, Cunping; Thomas, Craig J.; Lu, Jiamo; Inglese, James; Zheng, Wei; Leppla, Stephen H.; Bugge, Thomas H.; Austin, Christopher P.; Liu, Shihui

    2009-01-01

    Here, we report the results of a quantitative high-throughput screen (qHTS) measuring the endocytosis and translocation of a β-lactamase-fused-lethal factor and the identification of small molecules capable of obstructing the process of anthrax toxin internalization. Several small molecules protect RAW264.7 macrophages and CHO cells from anthrax lethal toxin and protected cells from an LF-Pseudomonas exotoxin fusion protein and diphtheria toxin. Further efforts demonstrated that these compounds impaired the PA heptamer pre-pore to pore conversion in cells expressing the CMG2 receptor, but not the related TEM8 receptor, indicating that these compounds likely interfere with toxin internalization. PMID:19540764

  11. Periocular cutaneous anthrax in Jimma Zone, Southwest Ethiopia: a case series

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. Naturally occurring human infection is rare and is generally the result of contact with anthrax-infected animals or animal products. Case presentation We examined three patients who had contact with presumed anthrax-infected animal and/or its product and presented with preseptal cellulitis with a localized itchy erythematous papule of the eyelid and non-pitting periorbital edema, followed by ulceration and dark eschar formation. All the three patients responded to intravenous antibiotics, and the lesion resolved leaving scars which caused cicatricial ectropion in all cases. Conclusion Anthrax is a rare disease but should be considered in the differential diagnosis of ulcerative (and eschar forming) preseptal cellulitis with a history of contact with anthrax-infected animals or animal products. Furthermore, cicatrization of the eyelids, one of the sequelae of periocular cutaneous anthrax, should be addressed. Urgent case report to the local zoonotic disease and infection control body and other responsible authorities is recommended. PMID:23924443

  12. Advances in the development of next-generation anthrax vaccines.

    PubMed

    Friedlander, Arthur M; Little, Stephen F

    2009-11-01

    Anthrax, a disease of herbivores, only rarely infects humans. However, the threat of using Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent, to intentionally produce disease has been the impetus for development of next-generation vaccines. Two licensed vaccines have been available for human use for several decades. These are composed of acellular culture supernatants containing the protective antigen (PA) component of the anthrax toxins. In this review we summarize the various approaches used to develop improved vaccines. These efforts have included the use of PA with newer adjuvants and delivery systems, including bacterial and viral vectors and DNA vaccines. Attempts to broaden the protection afforded by PA-based vaccines have focused on adding other B. anthracis components, including spore and capsule antigens. PMID:19837282

  13. Pathology and Pathophysiology of Inhalational Anthrax in a Guinea Pig Model

    PubMed Central

    Savransky, Vladimir; Sanford, Daniel C.; Syar, Emily; Austin, Jamie L.; Tordoff, Kevin P.; Anderson, Michael S.; Stark, Gregory V.; Barnewall, Roy E.; Briscoe, Crystal M.; Lemiale-Biérinx, Laurence; Park, Sukjoon; Ionin, Boris

    2013-01-01

    Nonhuman primates (NHPs) and rabbits are the animal models most commonly used to evaluate the efficacy of medical countermeasures against anthrax in support of licensure under the FDA's “Animal Rule.” However, a need for an alternative animal model may arise in certain cases. The development of such an alternative model requires a thorough understanding of the course and manifestation of experimental anthrax disease induced under controlled conditions in the proposed animal species. The guinea pig, which has been used extensively for anthrax pathogenesis studies and anthrax vaccine potency testing, is a good candidate for such an alternative model. This study was aimed at determining the median lethal dose (LD50) of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain in guinea pigs and investigating the natural history, pathophysiology, and pathology of inhalational anthrax in this animal model following nose-only aerosol exposure. The inhaled LD50 of aerosolized Ames strain spores in guinea pigs was determined to be 5.0 × 104 spores. Aerosol challenge of guinea pigs resulted in inhalational anthrax with death occurring between 46 and 71 h postchallenge. The first clinical signs appeared as early as 36 h postchallenge. Cardiovascular function declined starting at 20 h postexposure. Hematogenous dissemination of bacteria was observed microscopically in multiple organs and tissues as early as 24 h postchallenge. Other histopathologic findings typical of disseminated anthrax included suppurative (heterophilic) inflammation, edema, fibrin, necrosis, and/or hemorrhage in the spleen, lungs, and regional lymph nodes and lymphocyte depletion and/or lymphocytolysis in the spleen and lymph nodes. This study demonstrated that the course of inhalational anthrax disease and the resulting pathology in guinea pigs are similar to those seen in rabbits and NHPs, as well as in humans. PMID:23357384

  14. Detection of anthrax protective antigen (PA) using europium labeled anti-PA monoclonal antibody and time-resolved fluorescence.

    PubMed

    Stoddard, Robyn A; Quinn, Conrad P; Schiffer, Jarad M; Boyer, Anne E; Goldstein, Jason; Bagarozzi, Dennis A; Soroka, Stephen D; Dauphin, Leslie A; Hoffmaster, Alex R

    2014-06-01

    Inhalation anthrax is a rare but acute infectious disease following adsorption of Bacillus anthracis spores through the lungs. The disease has a high fatality rate if untreated, but early and correct diagnosis has a significant impact on case patient recovery. The early symptoms of inhalation anthrax are, however, non-specific and current anthrax diagnostics are primarily dependent upon culture and confirmatory real-time PCR. Consequently, there may be a significant delay in diagnosis and targeted treatment. Rapid, culture-independent diagnostic tests are therefore needed, particularly in the context of a large scale emergency response. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of monoclonal antibodies to detect anthrax toxin proteins that are secreted early in the course of B. anthracis infection using a time-resolved fluorescence (TRF) immunoassay. We selected monoclonal antibodies that could detect protective antigen (PA), as PA83 and also PA63 and LF in the lethal toxin complex. The assay reliable detection limit (RDL) was 6.63×10(-6)μM (0.551ng/ml) for PA83 and 2.51×10(-5)μM (1.58ng/ml) for PA63. Despite variable precision and accuracy of the assay, PA was detected in 9 out of 10 sera samples from anthrax confirmed case patients with cutaneous (n=7), inhalation (n=2), and gastrointestinal (n=1) disease. Anthrax Immune Globulin (AIG), which has been used in treatment of clinical anthrax, interfered with detection of PA. This study demonstrates a culture-independent method of diagnosing anthrax through the use of monoclonal antibodies to detect PA and LF in the lethal toxin complex. PMID:24857756

  15. Progress and novel strategies in vaccine development and treatment of anthrax.

    PubMed

    Chitlaru, Theodor; Altboum, Zeev; Reuveny, Shaul; Shafferman, Avigdor

    2011-01-01

    The lethal anthrax disease is caused by spores of the gram-positive Bacillus anthracis, a member of the cereus group of bacilli. Although the disease is very rare in the Western world, development of anthrax countermeasures gains increasing attention due to the potential use of B. anthracis spores as a bio-terror weapon. Protective antigen (PA), the non-toxic subunit of the bacterial secreted exotoxin, fulfills the role of recognizing a specific receptor and mediating the entry of the toxin into the host target cells. PA elicits a protective immune response and represents the basis for all current anthrax vaccines. Anti-PA neutralizing antibodies are useful correlates for protection and for vaccine efficacy evaluation. Post exposure anti-toxemic and anti-bacteremic prophylactic treatment of anthrax requires prolonged antibiotic administration. Shorter efficient postexposure treatments may require active or passive immunization, in addition to antibiotics. Although anthrax is acknowledged as a toxinogenic disease, additional factors, other than the bacterial toxin, may be involved in the virulence of B. anthracis and may be needed for the long-lasting protection conferred by PA immunization. The search for such novel factors is the focus of several high throughput genomic and proteomic studies that are already leading to identification of novel targets for therapeutics, for vaccine candidates, as well as biomarkers for detection and diagnosis. PMID:21198675

  16. From Structure to Solutions: The Role of Basic Research in Developing Anthrax Countermeasures

    PubMed Central

    Hardiman, Camille A.

    2012-01-01

    Dr. John Collier traced the discoveries that elucidated the structure and function of the anthrax toxin in his talk “Anthrax Toxin,” which was part of the Microbiology Graduate Program Seminar Series at Yale School of Medicine on February 23, 2012. Dr. Collier, Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard University, began by noting the advantages to studying anthrax pathogenesis in a biosafety level-1 lab. This designation does not merely facilitate his research, but also reflects a larger trend of basic research being leveraged to develop translational applications. Basic research on toxin structure has led to the development of a vaccine by Dr. Collier’s group. Next-generation prophylactics also may stem from recent discoveries uncovering a role for cellular cofactors that mediate toxin function. Finally, basic research into the toxin substructure has facilitated efforts to change the receptor tropism to target dysregulated cells for therapeutic purposes. The urgency around biodefense agents makes the choice of research priorities a salient issue. As such, this author submits that basic research occupies a unique and lucrative niche driving clinical applications. PMID:22737057

  17. Anthrax - Multiple Languages: MedlinePlus

    MedlinePlus

    ... Supplements Videos & Tools You Are Here: Home → Multiple Languages → All Health Topics → Anthrax URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/languages/anthrax.html Other topics A-Z A B ...

  18. Anthrax Vaccine and Public Health Policy

    PubMed Central

    Weiss, Martin Meyer; Weiss, Peter D.; Weiss, Joseph B.

    2007-01-01

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Bacillus anthracis, the causative organism of anthrax, as a category A potential bioterrorism agent. There are critical shortcomings in the US anthrax vaccine program. Rather than depending on the private sector, the government must assume direct production of anthrax vaccine. The development of a capacity capable of preemptive immunization of the public against anthrax should be considered. PMID:17901434

  19. Anthrax - Multiple Languages: MedlinePlus

    MedlinePlus

    ... Are Here: Home → Multiple Languages → All Health Topics → Anthrax URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/languages/anthrax.html Other topics A-Z A B C ... V W XYZ List of All Topics All Anthrax - Multiple Languages To use the sharing features on ...

  20. Anthrax: A Guide for Biology Teachers.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Simon, Eric J.

    2002-01-01

    Presents facts about anthrax so that biology teachers can communicate them to others. Defines anthrax and the nature of bacterial spores. Discusses transmission and clinical presentation as well as prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Explores the use of anthrax as a biological warfare agent. (Contains 27 references.) (DDR)

  1. Neutralizing antibody and functional mapping of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen-The first step toward a rationally designed anthrax vaccine.

    PubMed

    McComb, Ryan C; Martchenko, Mikhail

    2016-01-01

    Anthrax is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Category A pathogen for its potential use as a bioweapon. Current prevention treatments include Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA). AVA is an undefined formulation of Bacillus anthracis culture supernatant adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide. It has an onerous vaccination schedule, is slow and cumbersome to produce and is slightly reactogenic. Next-generation vaccines are focused on producing recombinant forms of anthrax toxin in a well-defined formulation but these vaccines have been shown to lose potency as they are stored. In addition, studies have shown that a proportion of the antibody response against these vaccines is focused on non-functional, non-neutralizing regions of the anthrax toxin while some essential functional regions are shielded from eliciting an antibody response. Rational vaccinology is a developing field that focuses on designing vaccine antigens based on structural information provided by neutralizing antibody epitope mapping, crystal structure analysis, and functional mapping through amino acid mutations. This information provides an opportunity to design antigens that target only functionally important and conserved regions of a pathogen in order to make a more optimal vaccine product. This review provides an overview of the literature related to functional and neutralizing antibody epitope mapping of the Protective Antigen (PA) component of anthrax toxin. PMID:26611201

  2. Airing Out Anthrax

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The AiroCide TiO2 is an air-purifier that kills 93.3 percent of airborne pathogens that pass through it, including Bacillus anthraci, more commonly known as anthrax. It is essentially a spinoff of KES Science & Technology, Inc.'s Bio-KES system, a highly effective device used by the produce industry for ethylene gas removal to aid in preserving the freshness of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The TiO2-based ethylene removal technology that is incorporated into the company's AiroCide TiO2 and Bio-KES products was first integrated into a pair of plant-growth chambers known as ASTROCULTURE(TM) and ADVANCED ASTROCULTURE(TM). Both chambers have housed commercial plant growth experiments in space on either the Space Shuttle or the International Space Station. The AiroCide TiO2 also has a proven record of destroying 98 percent of other airborne pathogens, such as microscopic dust mites, molds, and fungi. Moreover, the device is a verified killer of Influenza A (flu), E. coli, Staphylococcus aureas, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, among many other harmful viruses.

  3. Anthrax protective antigen delivered by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi Ty21a protects mice from a lethal anthrax spore challenge.

    PubMed

    Osorio, Manuel; Wu, Yanping; Singh, Sunil; Merkel, Tod J; Bhattacharyya, Siba; Blake, Milan S; Kopecko, Dennis J

    2009-04-01

    Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax disease, is a proven weapon of bioterrorism. Currently, the only licensed vaccine against anthrax in the United States is AVA Biothrax, which, although efficacious, suffers from several limitations. This vaccine requires six injectable doses over 18 months to stimulate protective immunity, requires a cold chain for storage, and in many cases has been associated with adverse effects. In this study, we modified the B. anthracis protective antigen (PA) gene for optimal expression and stability, linked it to an inducible promoter for maximal expression in the host, and fused it to the secretion signal of the Escherichia coli alpha-hemolysin protein (HlyA) on a low-copy-number plasmid. This plasmid was introduced into the licensed typhoid vaccine strain, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi strain Ty21a, and was found to be genetically stable. Immunization of mice with three vaccine doses elicited a strong PA-specific serum immunoglobulin G response with a geometric mean titer of 30,000 (range, 5,800 to 157,000) and lethal-toxin-neutralizing titers greater than 16,000. Vaccinated mice demonstrated 100% protection against a lethal intranasal challenge with aerosolized spores of B. anthracis 7702. The ultimate goal is a temperature-stable, safe, oral human vaccine against anthrax infection that can be self-administered in a few doses over a short period of time. PMID:19179420

  4. Synthetic smoke with acrolein but not HCl produces pulmonary edema

    SciTech Connect

    Hales, C.A.; Barkin, P.W.; Jung, W.; Trautman, E.; Lamborghini, D.; Herrig, N.; Burke, J.

    1988-03-01

    The chemical toxins in smoke and not the heat are responsible for the pulmonary edema of smoke inhalation. We developed a synthetic smoke composed of carbon particles (mean diameter of 4.3 microns) to which toxins known to be in smoke, such as HCl or acrolein, could be added one at a time. We delivered synthetic smoke to dogs for 10 min and monitored extravascular lung water (EVLW) accumulation thereafter with a double-indicator thermodilution technique. Final EVLW correlated highly with gravimetric values (r = 0.93, P less than 0.01). HCl in concentrations of 0.1-6 N when added to heated carbon (120 degrees C) and cooled to 39 degrees C produced airway damage but no pulmonary edema. Acrolein, in contrast, produced airway damage but also pulmonary edema, whereas capillary wedge pressures remained stable. Low-dose acrolein smoke (less than 200 ppm) produced edema in two of five animals with a 2- to 4-h delay. Intermediate-dose acrolein smoke (200-300 ppm) always produced edema at an average of 147 +/- 57 min after smoke, whereas high-dose acrolein (greater than 300 ppm) produced edema at 65 +/- 16 min after smoke. Thus acrolein but not HCl, when presented as a synthetic smoke, produced a delayed-onset, noncardiogenic, and peribronchiolar edema in a roughly dose-dependent fashion.

  5. Synthetic smoke with acrolein but not HCl produces pulmonary edema.

    PubMed

    Hales, C A; Barkin, P W; Jung, W; Trautman, E; Lamborghini, D; Herrig, N; Burke, J

    1988-03-01

    The chemical toxins in smoke and not the heat are responsible for the pulmonary edema of smoke inhalation. We developed a synthetic smoke composed of carbon particles (mean diameter of 4.3 microns) to which toxins known to be in smoke, such as HCl or acrolein, could be added one at a time. We delivered synthetic smoke to dogs for 10 min and monitored extravascular lung water (EVLW) accumulation thereafter with a double-indicator thermodilution technique. Final EVLW correlated highly with gravimetric values (r = 0.93, P less than 0.01). HCl in concentrations of 0.1-6 N when added to heated carbon (120 degrees C) and cooled to 39 degrees C produced airway damage but no pulmonary edema. Acrolein, in contrast, produced airway damage but also pulmonary edema, whereas capillary wedge pressures remained stable. Low-dose acrolein smoke (less than 200 ppm) produced edema in two of five animals with a 2- to 4-h delay. Intermediate-dose acrolein smoke (200-300 ppm) always produced edema at an average of 147 +/- 57 min after smoke, whereas high-dose acrolein (greater than 300 ppm) produced edema at 65 +/- 16 min after smoke. Thus acrolein but not HCl, when presented as a synthetic smoke, produced a delayed-onset, noncardiogenic, and peribronchiolar edema in a roughly dose-dependent fashion. PMID:3284867

  6. Immunization with a Recombinant, Pseudomonas fluorescens-Expressed, Mutant Form of Bacillus anthracis-Derived Protective Antigen Protects Rabbits from Anthrax Infection.

    PubMed

    Reed, Matthew D; Wilder, Julie A; Mega, William M; Hutt, Julie A; Kuehl, Philip J; Valderas, Michelle W; Chew, Lawrence L; Liang, Bertrand C; Squires, Charles H

    2015-01-01

    Protective antigen (PA), one of the components of the anthrax toxin, is the major component of human anthrax vaccine (Biothrax). Human anthrax vaccines approved in the United States and Europe consist of an alum-adsorbed or precipitated (respectively) supernatant material derived from cultures of toxigenic, non-encapsulated strains of Bacillus anthracis. Approved vaccination schedules in humans with either of these vaccines requires several booster shots and occasionally causes adverse injection site reactions. Mutant derivatives of the protective antigen that will not form the anthrax toxins have been described. We have cloned and expressed both mutant (PA SNKE167-ΔFF-315-E308D) and native PA molecules recombinantly and purified them. In this study, both the mutant and native PA molecules, formulated with alum (Alhydrogel), elicited high titers of anthrax toxin neutralizing anti-PA antibodies in New Zealand White rabbits. Both mutant and native PA vaccine preparations protected rabbits from lethal, aerosolized, B. anthracis spore challenge subsequent to two immunizations at doses of less than 1 μg. PMID:26207820

  7. Immunization with a Recombinant, Pseudomonas fluorescens-Expressed, Mutant Form of Bacillus anthracis-Derived Protective Antigen Protects Rabbits from Anthrax Infection

    PubMed Central

    Reed, Matthew D.; Wilder, Julie A.; Mega, William M.; Hutt, Julie A.; Kuehl, Philip J.; Valderas, Michelle W.; Chew, Lawrence L.; Liang, Bertrand C.; Squires, Charles H.

    2015-01-01

    Protective antigen (PA), one of the components of the anthrax toxin, is the major component of human anthrax vaccine (Biothrax). Human anthrax vaccines approved in the United States and Europe consist of an alum-adsorbed or precipitated (respectively) supernatant material derived from cultures of toxigenic, non-encapsulated strains of Bacillus anthracis. Approved vaccination schedules in humans with either of these vaccines requires several booster shots and occasionally causes adverse injection site reactions. Mutant derivatives of the protective antigen that will not form the anthrax toxins have been described. We have cloned and expressed both mutant (PA SNKE167-ΔFF-315-E308D) and native PA molecules recombinantly and purified them. In this study, both the mutant and native PA molecules, formulated with alum (Alhydrogel), elicited high titers of anthrax toxin neutralizing anti-PA antibodies in New Zealand White rabbits. Both mutant and native PA vaccine preparations protected rabbits from lethal, aerosolized, B. anthracis spore challenge subsequent to two immunizations at doses of less than 1 μg. PMID:26207820

  8. Anthrax vaccine associated deaths in miniature horses.

    PubMed

    Wobeser, Bruce K

    2015-04-01

    During a widespread anthrax outbreak in Canada, miniature horses were vaccinated using a live spore anthrax vaccine. Several of these horses died from an apparent immune-mediated vasculitis temporally associated with this vaccination. During the course of the outbreak, other miniature horses from different regions with a similar vaccination history, clinical signs, and necropsy findings were found. PMID:25829553

  9. Treatment of Anthrax Disease Frequently Asked Questions

    SciTech Connect

    Judd, Kathleen S.; Young, Joan E.; Lesperance, Ann M.; Malone, John D.

    2010-05-14

    This document provides a summary of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the treatment of anthrax disease caused by a wide-area release of Bacillus anthracis spores as an act bioterrorism. These FAQs are intended to provide the public health and medical community, as well as others, with guidance and communications to support the response and long-term recovery from an anthrax event.

  10. ESCHERICHIA COLI O147: AN EMERGING SEROGROUP OF EDEMA DISEASE OUTBREAKS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Edema disease is a systemic disease of weanling pigs caused by E. coli strains that produce a variant of Shiga toxin, Stx2e. These strains usually produce F18ab fimbriae and heat stable enterotoxin b (STb). Historically, edema disease strains from U.S. outbreaks have not produced heat stable enter...

  11. Stable Dry Powder Formulation for Nasal Delivery of Anthrax Vaccine

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Sheena H.; Kirwan, Shaun M.; Abraham, Soman N.; Staats, Herman F.; Hickey, Anthony J.

    2013-01-01

    There is a current biodefense interest in protection against Anthrax. Here we developed a new generation of stable and effective anthrax vaccine. We studied the immune response elicited by rPA delivered intranasally with a novel mucosal adjuvant, a mast cell activator Compound 48/80. The vaccine formulation was prepared in a powder form by spray-freeze-drying (SFD) under optimized conditions to produce particles with a target size of D50=25μm, suitable for delivery to the rabbit nasal cavity. Physicochemical properties of the powder vaccines were characterized to assess their delivery and storage potential. Structural stability of rPA was confirmed by CD and ATR-FTIR, while functional stability of rPA and C48/80 was monitored by cell-based assays. Animal study was performed using a unitdose powder device for direct nasal application. Results showed that C48/80 provided effective mucosal adjuvant activity in rabbits. Freshly prepared SFD powder vaccine formulations or powders stored for over two years at room temperature elicited significantly elevated serum PA-specific and lethal toxin neutralization antibody titers that were comparable to that induced by IM immunization with rPA. Nasal delivery of this vaccine formulation may be a viable alternative to the currently licensed vaccine, or an attractive vaccine platform for other mucosally transmitted diseases. PMID:21905034

  12. Purification and biophysical characterization of the core protease domain of anthrax lethal factor

    SciTech Connect

    Gkazonis, Petros V.; Dalkas, Georgios A.; Chasapis, Christos T.; Vlamis-Gardikas, Alexios; Bentrop, Detlef; Spyroulias, Georgios A.

    2010-06-04

    Anthrax lethal toxin (LeTx) stands for the major virulence factor of the anthrax disease. It comprises a 90 kDa highly specific metalloprotease, the anthrax lethal factor (LF). LF possesses a catalytic Zn{sup 2+} binding site and is highly specific against MAPK kinases, thus representing the most potent native biomolecule to alter and inactivate MKK [MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) kinases] signalling pathways. Given the importance of the interaction between LF and substrate for the development of anti-anthrax agents as well as the potential treatment of nascent tumours, the analysis of the structure and dynamic properties of the LF catalytic site are essential to elucidate its enzymatic properties. Here we report the recombinant expression and purification of a C-terminal part of LF (LF{sub 672-776}) that harbours the enzyme's core protease domain. The biophysical characterization and backbone assignments ({sup 1}H, {sup 13}C, {sup 15}N) of the polypeptide revealed a stable, well folded structure even in the absence of Zn{sup 2+}, suitable for high resolution structural analysis by NMR.

  13. Epsilon toxin: a fascinating pore-forming toxin.

    PubMed

    Popoff, Michel R

    2011-12-01

    Epsilon toxin (ETX) is produced by strains of Clostridium perfringens classified as type B or type D. ETX belongs to the heptameric β-pore-forming toxins including aerolysin and Clostridium septicum alpha toxin, which are characterized by the formation of a pore through the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells consisting in a β-barrel of 14 amphipatic β strands. By contrast to aerolysin and C. septicum alpha toxin, ETX is a much more potent toxin and is responsible for enterotoxemia in animals, mainly sheep. ETX induces perivascular edema in various tissues and accumulates in particular in the kidneys and brain, where it causes edema and necrotic lesions. ETX is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the release of glutamate, which accounts for the symptoms of nervous excitation observed in animal enterotoxemia. At the cellular level, ETX causes rapid swelling followed by cell death involving necrosis. The precise mode of action of ETX remains to be determined. ETX is a powerful toxin, however, it also represents a unique tool with which to vehicle drugs into the central nervous system or target glutamatergic neurons. PMID:21535407

  14. Increased membrane turnover in the brain in cutaneous anthrax without central nervous system disorder: a magnetic resonance spectroscopy study.

    PubMed

    Bayindir, Yasar; Firat, Ahmet K; Kayabas, Uner; Alkan, Alpay; Yetkin, Funda; Karakas, Hakki M; Yologlu, Saim

    2012-07-01

    Cutaneous anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis contacting the skin, is the most common form of human anthrax. Recent studies implicate the presence of additional, possibly toxin-related subtle changes, even in patients without neurological or radiological findings. In this study, the presence of subtle changes in cutaneous anthrax was investigated at the metabolite level using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Study subjects were consisted of 10 patients with cutaneous anthrax without co-morbid disease and/or neurological findings, and 13 healthy controls. There were no statistical differences in age and gender between two groups. The diagnosis of cutaneous anthrax was based on medical history, presence of a typical cutaneous lesion, large gram positive bacilli on gram staining and/or positive culture for B. anthracis from cutaneous samples. Brain magnetic resonance imaging examination consisted of conventional imaging and single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy was performed by using point-resolved spectroscopy sequence (TR: 2000ms, TE: 136ms, 128 averages). Voxels of 20mm×20mm×20mm were placed in normal-appearing parietal white matter to detect metabolite levels. Cerebral metabolite peaks were measured in normal appearing parietal white matter. N-acetyl aspartate/creatine and choline/creatine ratios were calculated using standard analytical procedures. Patients and controls were not statistically different regarding parietal white matter N-acetyl aspartate/creatine ratios (p=0.902), a finding that implicates the conservation of neuronal and axonal integrity and neuronal functions. However, choline/creatine ratios were significantly higher in patient groups (p=0.001), a finding implicating an increased membrane turnover. In conclusion, these two findings point to a possibly anthrax toxins-related subtle inflammatory reaction of the central nervous system at the cellular level. PMID:22543072

  15. Targeting HER2-positive cancer cells with receptor-redirected anthrax protective antigen

    PubMed Central

    McCluskey, Andrew J.; Olive, Andrew J.; Starnbach, Michael N.; Collier, R. John

    2012-01-01

    Targeted therapeutics have emerged in recent years as an attractive approach to treating various types of cancer. One approach is to modify a cytocidal protein toxin to direct its action to a specific population of cancer cells. We created a targeted toxin in which the receptor-binding and pore-forming moiety of anthrax toxin, termed Protective Antigen (PA), was modified to redirect its receptor specificity to HER2, a marker expressed at the surface of a significant fraction of breast and ovarian tumors. The resulting fusion protein (mPA-ZHER2) delivered cytocidal effectors specifically into HER2-positive tumor cells, including a trastuzumab-resistant line, causing death of the cells. No off-target killing of HER2-negative cells was observed, either with homogeneous populations or with mixtures of HER2-positive and HER2-negative cells. A mixture of mPA variants targeting different receptors mediated killing of cells bearing either receptor, without affecting cells devoid of these receptors. Anthrax toxin may serve as an effective platform for developing therapeutics to ablate cells bearing HER2 or other tumor-specific cell-surface markers. PMID:23290417

  16. A fragment of anthrax lethal factor delivers proteins to the cytosol without requiring protective antigen

    PubMed Central

    Kushner, Nicholas; Zhang, Dong; Touzjian, Neal; Essex, Max; Lieberman, Judy; Lu, Yichen

    2003-01-01

    Anthrax protective antigen (PA) is a 735-aa polypeptide that facilitates the exit of anthrax lethal factor (LF) from the endosome to the cytosol where the toxin acts. We recently found, however, that a fusion protein of the detoxified N-terminal domain of lethal factor (LFn) with a foreign peptide could induce CD8 T cell immune responses in the absence of PA. Because CD8 T cells recognize peptides derived from proteins degraded in the cytosol, this result suggests that lethal factor may be capable of entering the cytosol independently of PA. To investigate this further, the intracellular trafficking of an LFn-enhanced green fluorescent protein fusion protein (LFn-GFP) in the presence or absence of PA was examined by using confocal microscopy. LFn-GFP is able to enter the cytosol without PA. Moreover, it efficiently colocalizes with the proteosome 20s subunit, which degrades proteins into peptides for presentation to CD8 T cells by the MHC class I pathway. We further demonstrate that in the presence of an immune adjuvant LFn fusion protein without PA is able to effectively elicit anti-HIV cytotoxic T lymphocyte in inbred mice. These results indicate that LFn may be used without PA in a protein vaccine as a carrier to deliver antigens into the cytosol for efficient induction of T lymphocyte responses. Furthermore, these results enable us to propose a modified molecular mechanism of anthrax lethal toxin. PMID:12740437

  17. Role of Visible Light-Activated Photocatalyst on the Reduction of Anthrax Spore-Induced Mortality in Mice

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Hsin-Hsien; Wong, Ming-Show; Lin, Hung-Chi; Chang, Hsin-Hou

    2009-01-01

    Background Photocatalysis of titanium dioxide (TiO2) substrates is primarily induced by ultraviolet light irradiation. Anion-doped TiO2 substrates were shown to exhibit photocatalytic activities under visible-light illumination, relative environmentally-friendly materials. Their anti-spore activity against Bacillus anthracis, however, remains to be investigated. We evaluated these visible-light activated photocatalysts on the reduction of anthrax spore-induced pathogenesis. Methodology/Principal Findings Standard plating method was used to determine the inactivation of anthrax spore by visible light-induced photocatalysis. Mouse models were further employed to investigate the suppressive effects of the photocatalysis on anthrax toxin- and spore-mediated mortality. We found that anti-spore activities of visible light illuminated nitrogen- or carbon-doped titania thin films significantly reduced viability of anthrax spores. Even though the spore-killing efficiency is only approximately 25%, our data indicate that spores from photocatalyzed groups but not untreated groups have a less survival rate after macrophage clearance. In addition, the photocatalysis could directly inactivate lethal toxin, the major virulence factor of B. anthracis. In agreement with these results, we found that the photocatalyzed spores have tenfold less potency to induce mortality in mice. These data suggest that the photocatalysis might injury the spores through inactivating spore components. Conclusion/Significance Photocatalysis induced injuries of the spores might be more important than direct killing of spores to reduce pathogenicity in the host. PMID:19132100

  18. Small Molecule Inhibitors of Anthrax Lethal Factor Toxin

    PubMed Central

    Williams, John D.; Khan, Atiyya R.; Cardinale, Steven C.; Butler, Michelle M.; Bowlin, Terry L.; Peet, Norton P.

    2014-01-01

    This manuscript describes the preparation of new small molecule inhibitors of Bacillus anthracis lethal factor. Our starting point was the symmetrical, bis-quinolinyl compound 1 (NSC 12155). Optimization of one half of this molecule led to new LF inhibitors that were desymmetrized to afford more drug-like compounds. PMID:24290062

  19. Advances in Anthrax Detection: Overview of Bioprobes and Biosensors.

    PubMed

    Kim, Joungmok; Gedi, Vinayakumar; Lee, Sang-Choon; Cho, Jun-Haeng; Moon, Ji-Young; Yoon, Moon-Young

    2015-06-01

    Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. Although anthrax commonly affects domestic and wild animals, it causes a rare but lethal infection in humans. A variety of techniques have been introduced and evaluated to detect anthrax using cultures, polymerase chain reaction, and immunoassays to address the potential threat of anthrax being used as a bioweapon. The high-potential harm of anthrax in bioterrorism requires sensitive and specific detection systems that are rapid, field-ready, and real-time monitoring. Here, we provide a systematic overview of anthrax detection probes with their potential applications in various ultra-sensitive diagnostic systems. PMID:25987133

  20. List of Contractors to Support Anthrax Remediation

    SciTech Connect

    Judd, Kathleen S.; Lesperance, Ann M.

    2010-05-14

    This document responds to a need identified by private sector businesses for information on contractors that may be qualified to support building remediation efforts following a wide-area anthrax release.

  1. Latest advances in edema

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Villavicencio, J. L.; Hargens, A. R.; Pikoulicz, E.

    1996-01-01

    Basic concepts in the physiopathology of edema are reviewed. The mechanisms of fluid exchange across the capillary endothelium are explained. Interstitial flow and lymph formation are examined. Clinical disorders of tissue and lymphatic transport, microcirculatory derangements in venous disorders, protein disorders, and lymphatic system disorders are explored. Techniques for investigational imaging of the lymphatic system are explained.

  2. Micromechanics of alveolar edema.

    PubMed

    Perlman, Carrie E; Lederer, David J; Bhattacharya, Jahar

    2011-01-01

    The decrease of lung compliance in pulmonary edema underlies ventilator-induced lung injury. However, the cause of the decrease in compliance is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that in pulmonary edema, the mechanical effects of liquid-filled alveoli increase tissue stress in adjacent air-filled alveoli. By micropuncture of isolated, perfused rat lungs, we established a single-alveolus model of pulmonary edema that we imaged using confocal microscopy. In this model, we viewed a liquid-filled alveolus together with its air-filled neighbor at different transpulmonary pressures, both before and after liquid-filling. Instilling liquid in an alveolus caused alveolar shrinkage. As a result, the interalveolar septum was stretched, causing the neighboring air-filled alveolus to bulge. Thus, the air-filled alveolus was overexpanded by virtue of its adjacency to a liquid-filled alveolus. Confocal microscopy at different depths of the liquid-filled alveolus revealed a meniscus. Lung inflation to near-total lung capacity (TLC) demonstrated decreased compliance of the air-filled but not liquid-filled alveolus. However, at near TLC, the air-filled alveolus was larger than it was in the pre-edematous control tissue. In pulmonary edema, liquid-filled alveoli induce mechanical stress on air-filled alveoli, reducing the compliance of air-filled alveoli, and hence overall lung compliance. Because of increased mechanical stress, air-filled alveoli may be susceptible to overdistension injury during mechanical ventilation of the edematous lung. PMID:20118224

  3. Laboratories Face Crackdown in Wake of Anthrax Scare.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Southwick, Ron

    2001-01-01

    Explores the after-effects on college laboratories of the anthrax mail scare; scientists say the anthrax scare justifies tougher rules on biological agents, but some fear that Congress may go too far. (EV)

  4. Anthrax

    MedlinePlus

    ... by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis , which lives in soil. The bacterial cell lives as a hardy spore ... Bacillus anthracis is a bacterium that lives in soil and has developed a survival tactic that allows ...

  5. Discovery of Mouse Spleen Signaling Responses to Anthrax using Label-Free Quantitative Phosphoproteomics via Mass Spectrometry*

    PubMed Central

    Manes, Nathan P.; Dong, Li; Zhou, Weidong; Du, Xiuxia; Reghu, Nikitha; Kool, Arjan C.; Choi, Dahan; Bailey, Charles L.; Petricoin, Emanuel F.; Liotta, Lance A.; Popov, Serguei G.

    2011-01-01

    Inhalational anthrax is caused by spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis), and is an extremely dangerous disease that can kill unvaccinated victims within 2 weeks. Modern antibiotic-based therapy can increase the survival rate to ∼50%, but only if administered presymptomatically (within 24–48 h of exposure). To discover host signaling responses to presymptomatic anthrax, label-free quantitative phosphoproteomics via liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used to compare spleens from uninfected and spore-challenged mice over a 72 h time-course. Spleen proteins were denatured using urea, reduced using dithiothreitol, alkylated using iodoacetamide, and digested into peptides using trypsin, and the resulting phosphopeptides were enriched using titanium dioxide solid-phase extraction and analyzed by nano-liquid chromatography-Linear Trap Quadrupole-Orbitrap-MS(/MS). The fragment ion spectra were processed using DeconMSn and searched using both Mascot and SEQUEST resulting in 252,626 confident identifications of 6248 phosphopeptides (corresponding to 5782 phosphorylation sites). The precursor ion spectra were deisotoped using Decon2LS and aligned using MultiAlign resulting in the confident quantitation of 3265 of the identified phosphopeptides. ANOVAs were used to produce a q-value ranked list of host signaling responses. Late-stage (48–72 h postchallenge) Sterne strain (lethal) infections resulted in global alterations to the spleen phosphoproteome. In contrast, ΔSterne strain (asymptomatic; missing the anthrax toxin) infections resulted in 188 (5.8%) significantly altered (q<0.05) phosphopeptides. Twenty-six highly tentative phosphorylation responses to early-stage (24 h postchallenge) anthrax were discovered (q<0.5), and ten of these originated from eight proteins that have known roles in the host immune response. These tentative early-anthrax host response signaling events within mouse spleens may translate into presymptomatic

  6. Effects of 39 Compounds on Calmodulin-Regulated Adenylyl Cyclases AC1 and Bacillus anthracis Edema Factor

    PubMed Central

    Lübker, Carolin; Seifert, Roland

    2015-01-01

    Adenylyl cyclases (ACs) catalyze the conversion of ATP into the second messenger cAMP. Membranous AC1 (AC1) is involved in processes of memory and learning and in muscle pain. The AC toxin edema factor (EF) of Bacillus anthracis is involved in the development of anthrax. Both ACs are stimulated by the eukaryotic Ca2+-sensor calmodulin (CaM). The CaM-AC interaction could constitute a potential target to enhance or impair the AC activity of AC1 and EF to intervene in above (patho)physiological mechanisms. Thus, we analyzed the impact of 39 compounds including typical CaM-inhibitors, an anticonvulsant, an anticholinergic, antidepressants, antipsychotics and Ca2+-antagonists on CaM-stimulated catalytic activity of AC1 and EF. Compounds were tested at 10 μM, i.e., a concentration that can be reached therapeutically for certain antidepressants and antipsychotics. Calmidazolium chloride decreased CaM-stimulated AC1 activity moderately by about 30%. In contrast, CaM-stimulated EF activity was abrogated by calmidazolium chloride and additionally decreased by chlorpromazine, felodipine, penfluridol and trifluoperazine by about 20–40%. The activity of both ACs was decreased by calmidazolium chloride in the presence and absence of CaM. Thus, CaM-stimulated AC1 activity is more insensitive to inhibition by small molecules than CaM-stimulated EF activity. Inhibition of AC1 and EF by calmidazolium chloride is largely mediated via a CaM-independent allosteric mechanism. PMID:25946093

  7. Generation and Characterization of Human Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting Anthrax Protective Antigen following Vaccination with a Recombinant Protective Antigen Vaccine.

    PubMed

    Chi, Xiangyang; Li, Jianmin; Liu, Weicen; Wang, Xiaolin; Yin, Kexin; Liu, Ju; Zai, Xiaodong; Li, Liangliang; Song, Xiaohong; Zhang, Jun; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Yin, Ying; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie; Yu, Changming; Chen, Wei

    2015-05-01

    The anthrax protective antigen (PA) is the central component of the three-part anthrax toxin, and it is the primary immunogenic component in the approved AVA anthrax vaccine and the "next-generation" recombinant PA (rPA) anthrax vaccines. Animal models have indicated that PA-specific antibodies (AB) are sufficient to protect against infection with Bacillus anthracis. In this study, we investigated the PA domain specificity, affinity, mechanisms of neutralization, and synergistic effects of PA-specific antibodies from a single donor following vaccination with the rPA vaccine. Antibody-secreting cells were isolated 7 days after the donor received a boost vaccination, and 34 fully human monoclonal antibodies (hMAb) were identified. Clones 8H6, 4A3, and 22F1 were able to neutralize lethal toxin (LeTx) both in vitro and in vivo. Clone 8H6 neutralized LeTx by preventing furin cleavage of PA in a dose-dependent manner. Clone 4A3 enhanced degradation of nicked PA, thereby interfering with PA oligomerization. The mechanism of 22F1 is still unclear. A fourth clone, 2A6, that was protective only in vitro was found to be neutralizing in vivo in combination with a toxin-enhancing antibody, 8A7, which binds to domain 3 of PA and PA oligomers. These results provide novel insights into the antibody response elicited by the rPA vaccine and may be useful for PA-based vaccine and immunotherapeutic cocktail design. PMID:25787135

  8. Generation and Characterization of Human Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting Anthrax Protective Antigen following Vaccination with a Recombinant Protective Antigen Vaccine

    PubMed Central

    Chi, Xiangyang; Li, Jianmin; Liu, Weicen; Wang, Xiaolin; Yin, Kexin; Liu, Ju; Zai, Xiaodong; Li, Liangliang; Song, Xiaohong; Zhang, Jun; Zhang, Xiaopeng; Yin, Ying; Fu, Ling; Xu, Junjie

    2015-01-01

    The anthrax protective antigen (PA) is the central component of the three-part anthrax toxin, and it is the primary immunogenic component in the approved AVA anthrax vaccine and the “next-generation” recombinant PA (rPA) anthrax vaccines. Animal models have indicated that PA-specific antibodies (AB) are sufficient to protect against infection with Bacillus anthracis. In this study, we investigated the PA domain specificity, affinity, mechanisms of neutralization, and synergistic effects of PA-specific antibodies from a single donor following vaccination with the rPA vaccine. Antibody-secreting cells were isolated 7 days after the donor received a boost vaccination, and 34 fully human monoclonal antibodies (hMAb) were identified. Clones 8H6, 4A3, and 22F1 were able to neutralize lethal toxin (LeTx) both in vitro and in vivo. Clone 8H6 neutralized LeTx by preventing furin cleavage of PA in a dose-dependent manner. Clone 4A3 enhanced degradation of nicked PA, thereby interfering with PA oligomerization. The mechanism of 22F1 is still unclear. A fourth clone, 2A6, that was protective only in vitro was found to be neutralizing in vivo in combination with a toxin-enhancing antibody, 8A7, which binds to domain 3 of PA and PA oligomers. These results provide novel insights into the antibody response elicited by the rPA vaccine and may be useful for PA-based vaccine and immunotherapeutic cocktail design. PMID:25787135

  9. A Novel Chimeric Anti-PA Neutralizing Antibody for Postexposure Prophylaxis and Treatment of Anthrax

    PubMed Central

    Xiong, Siping; Tang, Qi; Liang, Xudong; Zhou, Tingting; Yang, Jin; Liu, Peng; Chen, Ya; Wang, Changjun; Feng, Zhenqing; Zhu, Jin

    2015-01-01

    Anthrax is a highly lethal infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, and the associated shock is closely related to the lethal toxin (LeTx) produced by the bacterium. The central role played by the 63 kDa protective antigen (PA63) region of LeTx in the pathophysiology of anthrax makes it an excellent therapeutic target. In the present study, a human/murine chimeric IgG mAb, hmPA6, was developed by inserting murine antibody variable regions into human constant regions using antibody engineering technology. hmPA6 expressed in 293F cells could neutralize LeTx both in vitro and in vivo. At a dose of 0.3 mg/kg, it could protect all tested rats from a lethal dose of LeTx. Even administration of 0.6 mg/kg hmPA6 48 h before LeTx challenge protected all tested rats. The results indicate that hmPA6 is a potential candidate for clinical application in anthrax treatment. PMID:26134518

  10. Toxin-Independent Virulence of Bacillus anthracis in Rabbits

    PubMed Central

    Levy, Haim; Glinert, Itai; Weiss, Shay; Sittner, Assa; Schlomovitz, Josef; Altboum, Zeev; Kobiler, David

    2014-01-01

    The accepted paradigm states that anthrax is both an invasive and toxinogenic disease and that the toxins play a major role in pathogenicity. In the guinea pig (GP) model we have previously shown that deletion of all three toxin components results in a relatively moderate attenuation in virulence, indicating that B. anthracis possesses an additional toxin-independent virulence mechanism. To characterize this toxin-independent mechanism in anthrax disease, we developed a new rabbit model by intravenous injection (IV) of B. anthracis encapsulated vegetative cells, artificially creating bacteremia. Using this model we were able to demonstrate that also in rabbits, B. anthracis mutants lacking the toxins are capable of killing the host within 24 hours. This virulent trait depends on the activity of AtxA in the presence of pXO2, as, in the absence of the toxin genes, deletion of either component abolishes virulence. Furthermore, this IV virulence depends mainly on AtxA rather than the whole pXO1. A similar pattern was shown in the GP model using subcutaneous (SC) administration of spores of the mutant strains, demonstrating the generality of the phenomenon. The virulent strains showed higher bacteremia levels and more efficient tissue dissemination; however our interpretation is that tissue dissemination per se is not the main determinant of virulence whose exact nature requires further elucidation. PMID:24416317