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A simple, rapid and sensitive FRET assay for botulinum neurotoxin serotype B detection

Guo, J;Xu, C;Li, X;Chen, S;

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), the most potent naturally-occurring neurotoxins known to humans, comprise seven distinct serotypes (BoNT/A-G), each of which exhibits unique substrate specificity. Many methods have been developed for BoNT detection, in particular for BoNT/A, with various complexity and sensitivity, while substrate based FRET assay is considered as the most widely used approach due to its simplicity and sensitivity. In this study, we designed a vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2) based FRET assay based on the understanding of the VAMP2 and light chain/B (LC/B) interactions in our previous studies. The current design constituted the shortest peptide, VAMP2 (63-85), with FRET dyes (EDAN and Dabcyl) labelled at position 76 and 85, respectively, which showed minimal effect on VAMP2 substrate catalysis by LC/B and therefore enhanced the sensitivity of the assay. The FRET peptide, designated as FVP-B, was specific to LC/B, with a detection sensitivity as low as 20 pM in 2 h. Importantly, FVP-B showed the potential to be scaled up and used in high throughput screening of LC/B inhibitor. The currently developed FRET assay is one of the most economic and rapid FRET assays for LC/B detection.