A leukotoxin from Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans was isolated by a procedure that includes polymyxin B extraction, ion-exchange chromatography, and gel filtration chromatography. The procedure resulted in the recovery of 48% of the toxin with a 99-fold increase in specific activity. The isolated toxin has a molecular mass of 180,000 daltons by gel filtration and 115,000 daltons by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. It retains all the major biological characteristics previously documented for crude leukotoxin preparations, including susceptibility to heat and proteolytic enzymes and neutralization by sera from patients with juvenile periodontitis. The isolated leukotoxin destroys human but not rat or guinea pig polymorphonuclear leukocytes and has no apparent effect on human erythrocytes. The availability of the A. actinomycetemcomitans leukotoxin should facilitate studies on its chemistry and mode of action as well as its role in the pathogenesis of human periodontal disease
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