Author(s): Despeyroux D, Walker N, Pearce M, Fisher M, McDonnell M,
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Abstract Electrospray mass spectrometry (ES/MS), capillary-zone electrophoresis (CZE), capillary isoelectric focusing (CIEF), and multianalyte resonant mirror are used to evaluate the heterogeneity of samples of ricin toxins extracted from five horticultural varieties of Ricinus communis seeds: R. communis zanzibariensis, carmencita, impala, sanguineus, and gibsonii. The investigation is also extended to the geographical provenance of the beans. Combining mass spectrometry, CE techniques, and resonant mirror results in a powerful analytical tool capable to characterize and differentiate between different varieties of ricin toxins. Each technique complements the others, adding another level of information. This study reveals a large extent of heterogeneity for each cultivar, demonstrating that ricin toxins consist of a series of glycosylated proteins most likely originating from a multigene family. By combining these techniques, it is possible to differentiate between zanzibariensis and the other four varieties, and that variations in the functional characteristics may be observed between the different cultivars. This study demonstrates that knowledge of the variety of R. communis beans used and their geographical provenance is essential before any type of investigation of ricin toxins is carried out. Consequently, any unusual behavior observed can only be attributed to that particular cultivar studied and not automatically extended to include all R. communis varieties. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
This article was published in Anal Biochem
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense