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Characterization of mutant Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxins with reduced affinity for calmodulin: Implications for the mechanism of toxin entry into target cells


, : Characterization of mutant Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxins with reduced affinity for calmodulin: Implications for the mechanism of toxin entry into target cells. European Journal of Biochemistry 243(3): 643-649

Bordetella pertussis secretes a calmodulin-stimulated adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA) that is one of the major virulence factors of this organism. The toxin is able to enter various types of eukaryotic cells where, upon activation by calmodulin, it catalyzes the production of non-physiological amounts of cyclic AMP. The mechanism of toxin entry into target cells is unknown, although it has been shown that it does not involve receptor-mediated endocytosis. The adenylate cyclase toxin exhibits a very high affinity for calmodulin, and it has been proposed that the energy of calmodulin-binding to CyaA might be required for the entry of the toxin into the target cells [Oldenburg, D.J., Gross, M. K., Wong, C. S. & Storm, D. R. (1992) Biochemistry 31, 8884-8891]. In the present study, we have reexamined this issue by analyzing the cytotoxicity of various modified CyaA toxins that have altered calmodulin affinity. We show that despite their low affinity for calmodulin (at least 1000-times less than that of the wild type CyaA), these toxins were able to efficiently deliver their catalytic domain into the cytoplasm of the target cells, erythrocytes. These results demonstrate that high-affinity calmodulin binding is not required for the entry of B. pertussis adenylate cyclase into eukaryotic cells. However, the high-affinity of CyaA for calmodulin is crucial for an efficient synthesis of cAMP within the target cells.

US$19.90

PMID: 9057827

DOI: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1997.00643.x


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