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New Conjugate Anthrax Vaccine Elicits Antibodies

A research team led by Dr. Julia Wang at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, have designed a new anti-anthrax vaccine by coupling the capsular poly-γ-D-glutamic acid (PGA) to the protective antigen. PGA is a major component of the bacterial capsule that is a formidable layer of protection against the ‘host’ immune system. The new vaccine is dually active, eliciting antibodies to both the bacteria (antibodies specific for PGA) and the toxin (antibodies specific for the protective antigen). The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Rhie, G.-E. et al., PNAS 100:10925-10930, Sep. 16, 2003).

In animal ... Read more

Scientists begin to understand how anthrax toxins kill

Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium recently used by bioterrorists. The three human forms of the disease, inhalation anthrax, cutaneous anthrax, and intestinal anthrax, can all lead to septicemia and death if left untreated. The major virulence factors of B. anthracis are a poly-D-glutamic acid capsule and the anthrax toxin. Anthrax toxin is made up of three proteins: protective antigen (PA), oedema factor (OF) and lethal factor (LF). PA binds to a host cell surface receptor, and then OF and LF are introduced into the cell by endocytosis. OF and LF later translocate from ... Read more

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