We evaluated two commercial F1 antigen capture-based immunochromatographic dipsticks, Yersinia Pestis (F1) Smart II and Plague BioThreat Alert test strips, in detecting plague bacilli by using whole-blood samples from mice experimentally infected with Yersinia pestis CO92. To assess the specificities of these dipsticks, an in-frame F1-deficient mutant of CO92 (Δcaf) was generated by homologous recombination and used as a negative control. Based on genetic, antigenic/immunologic, and electron microscopic analyses, the Δcaf mutant was devoid of a capsule. The growth rate of the Δcaf mutant generally was similar to that of the wild-type (WT) bacterium at both 26 and 37°C, although the mutant's growth dropped slightly during the late phase at 37°C. The Δcaf mutant was as virulent as WT CO92 in the pneumonic plague mouse model; however, it was attenuated in developing bubonic plague. Both dipsticks had similar sensitivities, requiring a minimum of 0.5 μg/ml of purified F1 antigen or 1 × 105 to 5 × 10 5 CFU/ml of WT CO92 for positive results, while the blood samples were negative for up to 1 × 108 CFU/ml of the Δcaf mutant. Our studies demonstrated the diagnostic potential of two plague dipsticks in detecting capsular-positive strains of Y. pestis in bubonic and pneumonic plague.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)