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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Nov 25;105(47):18537-42. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0808082105. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Connecting actin monomers by iso-peptide bond is a toxicity mechanism of the Vibrio cholerae MARTX toxin.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Abstract

The Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of a severe diarrheal disease that afflicts three to five million persons annually, causing up to 200,000 deaths. Nearly all V. cholerae strains produce a large multifunctional-autoprocessing RTX toxin (MARTX(Vc)), which contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of cholera in model systems. The actin cross-linking domain (ACD) of MARTX(Vc) directly catalyzes a covalent cross-linking of monomeric G-actin into oligomeric chains and causes cell rounding, but the nature of the cross-linked bond and the mechanism of the actin cytoskeleton disruption remained elusive. To elucidate the mechanism of ACD action and effect on actin, we identified the covalent cross-link bond between actin protomers using limited proteolysis, X-ray crystallography, and mass spectrometry. We report here that ACD catalyzes the formation of an intermolecular iso-peptide bond between residues E270 and K50 located in the hydrophobic and the DNaseI-binding loops of actin, respectively. Mutagenesis studies confirm that no other residues on actin can be cross-linked by ACD both in vitro and in vivo. This cross-linking locks actin protomers into an orientation different from that of F-actin, resulting in strong inhibition of actin polymerization. This report describes a microbial toxin mechanism acting via iso-peptide bond cross-linking between host proteins and is, to the best of our knowledge, the only known example of a peptide linkage between nonterminal glutamate and lysine side chains.

PMID:
19015515
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2587553
Free PMC Article
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