Diagnostic Microbiology And Infectious Disease
Rapid and accurate diagnostic tests for Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are crucial for management of patients with suspected CDI and for infection control. Enzyme immunoassays for detection of the toxins are routinely used but lack adequate sensitivity. We generated slow off-rate modified aptamers (SOMAmer reagents) via in vitro selection (SELEX) that bind toxins A, B and binary toxin with high affinity and specificity. Using SOMAmers alone or in conjunction with antibodies, we have developed toxin assays with a 1 pmol/L (300 pg/mL) limit of detection and a 3 log dynamic range. SOMAmers proved useful as capture or detection agents in equilibrium solution binding radioassays, pull-down capture assays, dot blots, and plate- or membrane-based sandwich assays, thus represent a promising alternative to antibodies in diagnostic applications. SOMAmers detected toxins A, B and binary toxin in culture supernatants from toxigenic C. difficile, including a BI/NAP1 strain and historic strains.