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Didier, A.; Dietrich, R.; Martlbauer, E. (2016): Antibody Binding Studies Reveal Conformational Flexibility of the Bacillus cereus Non-Hemolytic Enterotoxin (Nhe) A-Component.
In: PLOS ONE 11(10), e0165135


The non-hemolytic enterotoxin complex (Nhe) is supposed to be the main virulence factor of B. cereus causing a diarrheal outcome of food poisoning. This tripartite toxin consists of the single components NheA, -B and -C all of them being necessary for maximum toxicity. In the past, research activities aiming to elucidate the mode-of-action of Nhe were mostly focused on the B-and C-component. In this study the generation of novel monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and their thorough characterization enabled the determination of key features for NheA. By the means of immunoaffinity chromatography it could be shown that NheA does not interact with -B and -C in solution. Additionally, the establishment of a highly sensitive sandwich-EIA now enables the detection of NheA in B. cereus supernatants down to 20 pg ml(-1). Peptide-based epitope mapping in combination with partially deleted recombinant NheA fragments allowed the allocation of the binding regions for the three mAbs under study. Furthermore, by different EIA set-ups the conformational flexibility of NheA could be shown. For two of the antibodies under study different mechanisms of NheA neutralization were proven. Due to prevention of complete pore formation by one of the antibodies, NheA could be detected in an intermediate stage of the tripartite complex on the cell surface. Taken together, the results obtained in the present study allow a refinement of the mode-of-action for the Nhe toxin-complex.