Txp40, a ubiquitous insecticidal toxin protein from Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus bacteria.Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Feb; 72(2):1653-62.AE
Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus are gram-negative bacteria that produce a range of proteins that are toxic to insects. We recently identified a novel 42-kDa protein from Xenorhabdus nematophila that was lethal to the larvae of insects such as Galleria mellonella and Helicoverpa armigera when it was injected at doses of 30 to 40 ng/g larvae. In the present work, the toxin gene txp40 was identified in another 59 strains of Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus, indicating that it is both highly conserved and widespread among these bacteria. Recombinant toxin protein was shown to be active against a variety of insect species by direct injection into the larvae of the lepidopteran species G. mellonella, H. armigera, and Plodia interpunctella and the dipteran species Lucilia cuprina. The protein exhibited significant cytotoxicity against two dipteran cell lines and two lepidopteran cell lines but not against a mammalian cell line. Histological data from H. armigera larvae into which the toxin was injected suggested that the primary site of action of the toxin is the midgut, although some damage to the fat body was also observed.