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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 5;278(49):49342-7. Epub 2003 Sep 24.

Binding of anthrax toxin to its receptor is similar to alpha integrin-ligand interactions.

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McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The secreted protein toxin produced by Bacillus anthracis contributes to virulence of this pathogen and can cause many of the symptoms seen during an anthrax infection, including shock and sudden death. The cell-binding component of anthrax toxin, protective antigen, mediates entry of the toxin into cells by first binding directly to the extracellular integrin-like inserted (I) domain of the cellular anthrax toxin receptor, ATR. Here we report that this interaction requires an intact metal ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) in the receptor as well as the presence of specific divalent cations. Also, we demonstrate that the toxin-receptor interaction is critically dependent on the Asp-683 carboxylate group of protective antigen, which projects from the receptor binding surface. We propose that this carboxylate group completes the coordination of the MIDAS metal of ATR, mimicking integrin-ligand interactions.

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