Researchers have engineered a protein which may be counter enterotoxin B, a toxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause potentially fatal food poisoning. The purified form of the toxin in considered as a potential bioterrorismlinks agent.
“Our approach was to take these receptors that bind to the toxins and to try to make them higher affinity and therefore act as effective neutralizing agents when delivered in soluble form,” Kranz said. “It’s the binding of the toxin to T-cells that is critical. If you can prevent the toxin from binding to the T-cell receptor then you can prevent it from initiating that cascade.”
The engineered protein prevented the onset of symptoms in rabbits exposed to SEB and reversed the course of the illness in those treated two hours after exposure.
According to the researchers, in comparison to antibodies, this protein is about 1/10th in size and may therefore penetrate deeper into tissues without triggering an immune response. The protein can also be mass produced rapidly and inexpensively using E.coli.