Enhancement of insecticidal activity of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1A toxins by fragments of a toxin-binding cadherin correlates with oligomer formation

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Abstract

Cry1A toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis bind a cadherin receptor that mediates toxicity in different lepidopteran insect larvae. Insect cadherin receptors are modular proteins composed of three domains, the ectodomain formed by 9-12 cadherin repeats (CR), the transmembrane domain and the intracellular domain. Cry1A toxins interact with three regions of the Manduca sexta cadherin receptor that are located in CR7, CR11 and CR12 cadherin repeats. Binding of Cry1A toxin to cadherin induces oligomerization of the toxin, which is essential for membrane insertion. Also, it has been reported that cadherin fragments containing the CR12 region enhanced the insecticidal activity of Cry1Ab toxin to M. sexta and other lepidopteran larvae. Here we report that cadherin fragments corresponding to CR7 and CR11 regions also enhanced the activity of Cry1Ac and Cry1Ab toxin to M. sexta larvae, although not as efficient as the CR12 fragment. A single point mutation in the CR12 region (I1422R) affected Cry1Ac and Cry1Ab binding to the cadherin fragments and did not enhance the activity of Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac toxin in bioassays. Analysis of Cry1Ab in vitro oligomer formation in the presence of wild type and mutated cadherin fragments showed a correlation between enhancement of Cry1A toxin activity in bioassays and in vitro Cry1Ab-oligomer formation. Our data shows that formation of Cry1A toxin oligomer is in part responsible for the enhancement of Cry1A toxicity by cadherin fragments that is observed in vivo. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Pacheco, S., Gómez, I., Gill, S. S., Bravo, A., & Soberón, M. (2009). Enhancement of insecticidal activity of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1A toxins by fragments of a toxin-binding cadherin correlates with oligomer formation. Peptides, 30(3), 583–588. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peptides.2008.08.006

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