Structural changes of the Cry1Ac oligomeric pre-pore from bacillus thuringiensis induced by N-acetylgalactosamine facilitates toxin membrane insertion.Biochemistry. 2006 Aug 29; 45(34):10329-36.B
The primary action of Cry toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis is to lyse midgut epithelial cells in their target insect by forming lytic pores. The toxin-receptor interaction is a complex process, involving multiple interactions with different receptor and carbohydrate molecules. It has been proposed that Cry1A toxins sequentially interact with a cadherin receptor, leading to the formation of a pre-pore oligomer structure, and that the oligomeric structure binds to glycosylphosphatidyl-inositol-anchored aminopeptidase-N (APN) receptor. The Cry1Ac toxin specifically recognizes the N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) carbohydrate present in the APN receptor from Manduca sexta larvae. In this work, we show that the Cry1Ac pre-pore oligomer has a higher binding affinity with APN than the monomeric toxin. The effects of GalNAc binding on the toxin structure were studied in the monomeric Cry1Ac, in the soluble pre-pore oligomeric structure, and in its membrane inserted state by recording the fluorescence status of the tryptophan (W) residues. Our results indicate that the W residues of Cry1Ac have a different exposure to the solvent when compared with that of the closely related Cry1Ab toxin. GalNAc binding specifically affects the exposure of W545 in the pre-pore oligomer in contrast to the monomer where GalNAc binding did not affect the fluorescence of the toxin. These results indicate a subtle conformational change in the GalNAc binding pocket in the pre-pore oligomer that could explain the increased binding affinity of the Cry1Ac pre-pore to APN. Although our analysis did not reveal major structural changes in the pore-forming domain I upon GalNAc binding, it showed that sugar interaction enhanced membrane insertion of soluble pre-pore oligomeric structure. Therefore, the data presented here permits to propose a model in which the interaction of Cry1Ac pre-pore oligomer with APN receptor facilitates membrane insertion and pore formation.