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Shiga toxin subtypes display dramatic differences in potency.

Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology, Room 3109, 231 Albert Sabin Way, ML 524, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0524, USA.
Infection and immunity (Impact Factor: 4.16). 03/2011; 79(3):1329-37. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.01182-10
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Purified Shiga toxin (Stx) alone is capable of producing systemic complications, including hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), in animal models of disease. Stx includes two major antigenic forms (Stx1 and Stx2), with minor variants of Stx2 (Stx2a to -h). Stx2a is more potent than Stx1. Epidemiologic studies suggest that Stx2 subtypes also differ in potency, but these differences have not been well documented for purified toxin. The relative potencies of five purified Stx2 subtypes, Stx2a, Stx2b, Stx2c, Stx2d, and activated (elastase-cleaved) Stx2d, were studied in vitro by examining protein synthesis inhibition using Vero monkey kidney cells and inhibition of metabolic activity (reduction of resazurin to fluorescent resorufin) using primary human renal proximal tubule epithelial cells (RPTECs). In both RPTECs and Vero cells, Stx2a, Stx2d, and elastase-cleaved Stx2d were at least 25 times more potent than Stx2b and Stx2c. In vivo potency in mice was also assessed. Stx2b and Stx2c had potencies similar to that of Stx1, while Stx2a, Stx2d, and elastase-cleaved Stx2d were 40 to 400 times more potent than Stx1.

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