Cadherin-like receptor binding facilitates proteolytic cleavage of helix alpha-1 in domain I and oligomer pre-pore formation of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ab toxin.FEBS Lett. 2002 Feb 27; 513(2-3):242-6.FL
Cry toxins form lytic pores in the insect midgut cells. The role of receptor interaction in the process of protoxin activation was analyzed. Incubation of Cry1Ab protoxin with a single chain antibody that mimics the cadherin-like receptor and treatment with Manduca sexta midgut juice or trypsin, resulted in toxin preparations with high pore-forming activity in vitro. This activity correlates with the formation of a 250 kDa oligomer that lacks the helix alpha-1 of domain I. The oligomer, in contrast with the 60 kDa monomer, was capable of membrane insertion as judged by 8-anilino-1-naphthalenesulfonate binding. Cry1Ab protoxin was also activated to a 250 kDa oligomer by incubation with brush border membrane vesicles, presumably by the action of a membrane-associated protease. Finally, a model where receptor binding allows the efficient cleavage of alpha-1 and formation of a pre-pore oligomeric structure that is efficient in pore formation, is presented.