Author(s): Barr JR, Moura H, Boyer AE, Woolfitt AR, Kalb SR, , Barr JR, Moura H, Boyer AE, Woolfitt AR, Kalb SR,
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Abstract Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are proteases that cleave specific cellular proteins essential for neurotransmitter release. Seven BoNT serotypes (A-G) exist; 4 usually cause human botulism (A, B, E, and F). We developed a rapid, mass spectrometry-based method (Endopep-MS) to detect and differentiate active BoNTs A, B, E, and F. This method uses the highly specific protease activity of the toxins with target peptides specific for each toxin serotype. The product peptides derived from the endopeptidase activities of BoNTs are detected by matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In buffer, this method can detect toxin equivalents of as little as 0.01 mouse lethal dose (MLD)50 and concentrations as low as 0.62 MLD50/mL. A high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for quantifying active toxin, where the amount of toxin can be correlated to the amount of product peptides, is also described.
This article was published in Emerg Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research