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Glycoconjugates prevent B. anthracis toxin-induced cell death through binding while activating macrophages

Tarasenko, O;Scott, A;Soderberg, L;Alusta, P;

Bacillus anthracis toxins may be attenuated if macrophages could neutralize toxins upon contact or exposure. Glycoconjugate-bearing polymers, which have been shown to bind to Bacillus spores, were tested for recognition and binding of protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF) toxins. We have demonstrated modulation of macrophage activity following exposure to these toxins. Without glycoconjugate (GC) activation, murine macrophages were killed by Bacillus toxins. GCs were shown to have a protective influence, sparing macrophages from toxin-induced cell death, as shown by increased macrophage cell viability based on trypan blue assay. Increased levels of inducible nitric oxide (NO) production by macrophages in presence of GCs suggest that GCs provide an activation signal for macrophages and stimulate their function. Results hint to GCs that promote neutralization of Bacillus toxins, block toxin-induced macrophage death, while increasing macrophage activation. Polymeric GCs may suggest novel approaches to improve existing or develop new vaccines as well as immunotherapeutics.