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J Biol Chem. 1992 Feb 15;267(5):3115-21.

Location of a Bombyx mori receptor binding region on a Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Receptor binding studies were performed with 125I-labeled trypsin-activated insecticidal toxins, CryIA(a) and CryIA(c), from Bacillus thuringiensis on brush-border membrane vesicles (BBMV) prepared from Bombyx mori larval midgut. Bioassays were performed by gently force feeding B. mori with diluted toxins. CryIA(a) toxin (LD50; 0.002 micrograms) was 200 times more active against B. mori larvae than CryIA(c) toxin (LD50; 0.421 micrograms) and showed high-affinity saturable binding. The Kd and the binding site concentration for CryIA(a) toxin were 3.5 nM and 7.95 pmol/mg, respectively. CryIA(c) toxin (Kd, 50.35 nM; Bmax, 2.85 pmol/mg) did not demonstrate high-affinity binding to B. mori BBMV. Control experiments with CryIA(a) and CryIA(c) toxins revealed no binding to mouse small intestine BBMV and nonspecific binding to pig kidney BBMV. These data provide evidence that binding to a specific receptor on the membrane of midgut epithelial cells is an important determinant with respect to differences in insecticidal spectrum of insecticidal crystal proteins. To locate a B. mori receptor binding region on the CryIA(a) toxin, homologous and heterologous competition binding studies were performed with a set of mutant proteins which had previously been used to define the B. mori "specificity domain" on this toxin (Ge, A. Z., Shivarova, N. I., and Dean, D. H. (1989) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 86, 4037-4041). These mutant proteins have had regions of their genes reciprocally exchanged with the cryIA(c) gene. A B. mori receptor binding region on CryIA(a) toxin includes the amino-terminal portion of the hypervariable region, amino acids 332-450, which is identical to the previously described B. mori specificity determining region. These data provide direct evidence that delta-endotoxins contain a tract of amino acids that comprise a binding region and as a results determines the specificity of a toxin.

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