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Protein engineering of Bacillus thuringiensis δ-endotoxin: Mutations at domain II of CryIAb enhance receptor affinity and toxicity toward gypsy moth larvae

By Francis Rajamohan, Oscar Alzate, Jeffrey A. Cotrill, April Curtiss and Donald H. Dean


Substitutions or deletions of domain II loop residues of Bacillus thuringiensis δ-endotoxin CryIAb were constructed using site-directed mutagenesis techniques to investigate their functional roles in receptor binding and toxicity toward gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). Substitution of loop 2 residue N372 with Ala or Gly (N372A, N372G) increased the toxicity against gypsy moth larvae 8-fold and enhanced binding affinity to gypsy moth midgut brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) ≈4-fold. Deletion of N372 (D3), however, substantially reduced toxicity (>21 times) as well as binding affinity, suggesting that residue N372 is involved in receptor binding. Interestingly, a triple mutant, DF-1 (N372A, A282G and L283S), has a 36-fold increase in toxicity to gypsy moth neonates compared with wild-type toxin. The enhanced activity of DF-1 was correlated with higher binding affinity (18-fold) and binding site concentrations. Dissociation binding assays suggested that the off-rate of the BBMV-bound mutant toxins was similar to that of the wild type. However, DF-1 toxin bound 4 times more than the wild-type and N372A toxins, and it was directly correlated with binding affinity and potency. Protein blots of gypsy moth BBMV probed with labeled N372A, DF-1, and CryIAb toxins recognized a common 210-kDa protein, indicating that the increased activity of the mutants was not caused by binding to additional receptor(s). The improved binding affinity of N372A and DF-1 suggest that a shorter side chain at these loops may fit the toxin more efficiently to the binding pockets. These results offer an excellent model system for engineering δ-endotoxins with higher potency and wider spectra of target pests by improving receptor binding interactions

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Year: 1996
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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