[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantification of anthrax lethal toxin (LTx) neutralization activity (TNA) is pivotal in assessing protective antibody responses to anthrax vaccines and for evaluation of immunotherapies for anthrax. We have adapted and redesigned the TNA assay to establish a unifying, standardized, quantitative and validated technology platform for LTx neutralization in the J774A.1 murine cell line. Critical design features of this platform are 1) the application of a free-form or constrained 4 parameter logistic (4-PL) function to model neutralization responses within and between boundary limits of 100% cell survival and 95% cell lysis and 2) to exploit innovative assay curve recognition algorithms for interpretive endpoints. The assay was validated using human serum ED50 (dilution of serum effecting 50% neutralization) as the primary reportable value (RV). Intra-operator and intermediate precision, expressed as the coefficient of variation (%CV), were high at 10.5-15.5%CV and 13.5-14.5%CV respectively. TNA assay dilutional linearity was demonstrated for human sera using linear regression analysis of log(10) transformed data with slope=0.99, intercept=-0.03 and r(2)=0.985. Assay accuracy, inferred from the precision and linearity data and using a spike-recovery approach, was high with a percent error (%E) range of only 3.4-20.5%E. The lower limit of detection (LLOD) was ED50=12 and the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) was ED50=36. The cell-based assay was robust, tolerating incubation temperatures from 35 to 39 degrees C, CO(2) concentrations from 3% to 7% and reporter substrate (MTT) concentrations of 2.5-7.5 mg/ml. Strict assay quality control parameters were met for up to 25 cell culture passages. The long term (50 month) assay stability, determined using human reference standards AVR414 and AVR801, indicated high precision, consistent accuracy and no detectable assay drift. A customized software program provided two additional assay metrics, Quantification Titer (QT) and Threshold Titer (TT), both of which demonstrate acceptable accuracy, precision and dilutional linearity. The TT was also used to establish the assay reactivity threshold (RT). The application of the assay to sera from humans, Rhesus macaques and rabbits was demonstrated separately and by aggregate dilutional linearity analysis of the ED50 (slope=0.98, intercept=0.003, r(2)=0.989). We propose this TNA assay format with a qualified standard reference serum and customized interpretive software as a unifying platform technology for determination of functional serologic responses to anthrax vaccines and for evaluation of anthrax immunotherapeutics.
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · Journal of Immunological Methods
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gram-negative bacterium Haemophilus influenzae is a human-restricted commensal of the nasopharynx that can also be associated with disease. The majority of H. influenzae respiratory isolates lack the genes for capsule production and are nontypeable (NTHI). Whereas encapsulated strains are known to belong to serotype-specific phylogenetic groups, the structure of the NTHI population has not been previously described. A total of 656 H. influenzae strains, including 322 NTHI strains, have been typed by multilocus sequence typing and found to have 359 sequence types (ST). We performed maximum-parsimony analysis of the 359 sequences and calculated the majority-rule consensus of 4,545 resulting equally most parsimonious trees. Eleven clades were identified, consisting of six or more ST on a branch that was present in 100% of trees. Two additional clades were defined by branches present in 91% and 82% of trees, respectively. Of these 13 clades, 8 consisted predominantly of NTHI strains, three were serotype specific, and 2 contained distinct NTHI-specific and serotype-specific clusters of strains. Sixty percent of NTHI strains have ST within one of the 13 clades, and eBURST analysis identified an additional phylogenetic group that contained 20% of NTHI strains. There was concordant clustering of certain metabolic reactions and putative virulence loci but not of disease source or geographic origin. We conclude that well-defined phylogenetic groups of NTHI strains exist and that these groups differ in genetic content. These observations will provide a framework for further study of the effect of genetic diversity on the interaction of NTHI with the host.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2008 · Journal of bacteriology