The epitopic regions of the brevetoxin PbTx-3 molecule, produced by the marine dinoflagellate Ptychodiscus brevis, have been identified by structural modification at three distinct regions of the toxin. These are: the A-ring lactone region of the molecule, the K-ring side-chain and the H-ring. The modified PbTx-3 derivatives were tested for their ability to bind brevetoxin goat antisera directed against the PbTx-3 molecule, by radio-immunoassay. The results showed that at least two major epitopes and one minor epitope are recognized: the A-ring lactone region of the molecule and the K-ring side-chain, and the H-ring. The results illustrate the variety of antibodies which may be produced, even within a species, and suggests that epitope characterization is important in the development of assays which are to be employed in seafood safety issues.
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