Identification of Bacillus anthracis by polyclonal antibodies against extracted vegetative cell antigens.J Appl Bacteriol 1989; 66(5):419-32JA
The extractable protein antigens EA1 and EA2 of Bacillus anthracis were prepared from electrophoresis transblots of SDS extracts of vegetative bacteria of the Sterne strain. Hyperimmune guinea-pig antiserum against EA2 failed to react with B. anthracis cells in immunofluorescence (IF) tests. Guinea-pig antiserum against EA1 (anti-EA1) reacted strongly in IF tests with non-encapsulated vegetative cell of 10 of 12 strains of B. anthracis and with cells of strains of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. The unreactive B. anthracis strains were delta-Vollum-1B-1 and Texas. Encapsulated cells of B. anthracis stained poorly except for small bright regions. Absorption of anti-EA1 with cells of B. cereus NCTC 8035 and NCTC 9946 removed activity towards all B. cereus strains tested, but only partly reduced cross-reaction with B. thuringiensis strains. Absorption of anti-EA1 with B. thuringiensis 4041 removed activity towards this strain and B. cereus strains. Evidence is produced that B. thuringiensis cells grown on nutrient agar possess more cross-reacting antigens than cells grown in nutrient broth. The reaction of anti-EA1 with Bacillus spores immobilized in clumps on microscope slides was attributed to contaminating vegetative debris because well-separated individual spores failed to react. A rapid IF test was developed allowing identification of B. anthracis sampled from overnight cultures on blood plates. When sodium dodecyl sulphate extracts of B. anthracis vegetative cells were analysed on immunoblots (Western blots) by reaction with anti-EA1, a number of bands were visualized in addition to the expected 91 kiloDalton EA1 band. Prior absorption of anti-EA1 with B. cereus or B. thuringiensis cells resulted in the disappearance of most or all of the brands in blots of these species, but had less effect on blots of the B. anthracis strains. All six B. anthracis strains that were blotted including delta-Vollum-1B-1 and Texas, could thus be distinguished from B. cereus and B. thuringiensis by their differential reaction with unabsorbed and absorbed anti-EA1.