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Denatured Ricin Can Be Detected as Native Ricin by Immunological Methods, but Nontoxic In Vivo

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Ricin is a glycoprotein from Ricinus communis seeds. It is known to have diverse toxic effects on cells of different visceral organs. In the present study, we purified and denatured ricin in a boiling water bath for different time intervals. We further made an attempt to identify native and denatured ricin by immunobased detection systems. All the antigen/antibody-based assays identified native and denatured ricin. On SDS–PAGE, only native ricin was observed. In western blotting, ricin boiled for 3.75 min gave a strong band on X-ray film. On native polyacryl amide gel electrophoresis, native and denatured ricin gave ricin band in 60-kDa region. The denatured ricin did cause mortality up to 25 mg/kg, while 5 and 10 μg/kg of native ricin caused 50% and 100% mortality, respectively. Detection of native and denatured ricin is very difficult, and the investigating agencies, forensic scientists, and analysts should be very careful while interpreting the results.

Keywords: Dot ELISA; ICT; SDS–PAGE; denatured ricin; forensic sciences; ricin; toxicity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Defence Research and Development Establishment, Gwalior – 474002, India.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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