Publications & Posters

Ultra-sensitive Detection of Ricin Toxin in Multiple Sample Matrices Using Single-Domain Antibodies


Shonda T. Gaylord , Trinh L Dinh , Ellen R. Goldman , George P Anderson , Kevin C Ngan , and David R. Walt

Anal. Chem. 2015, 87, 13, 6570–6577


This study was peformed using a Simoa® Homebrew assay.


Ricin is an extremely potent ribosomal inactivating protein listed as a Category B select agent. Although ricin intoxication is not transmittable from person to person, even a single ricin molecule can lead to cell necrosis because it inactivates 1500 ribosomes/min. Since there is currently no vaccine or therapeutic treatment for ricin intoxication, ultrasensitive analytical assays capable of detecting ricin in a variety of matrixes are urgently needed to limit exposure to individuals as well as communities. In this paper, we present the development and application of a single-molecule array (Simoa) for the detection of ricin toxin in human urine and serum. Single-domain antibodies (sdAbs), among the smallest engineered binding fragments, were chemically coupled to the surface of paramagnetic beads for the sensitive detection of ricin toxin. The Simoa was able to detect ricin at levels of 10 fg/mL, 100 fg/mL, and 1 pg/mL in buffer, urine and serum, respectively, in a fraction of the assay time need using immuno-polymerase chain reaction (IPCR). Using a fully automated state-of-the-art platform, the Simoa HD-1 analyzer, the assay time was reduced to 64 min.