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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 2;101(9):3208-13. Epub 2004 Feb 24.

Plasma membrane localization signals in the light chain of botulinum neurotoxin.

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Neurotoxin Research Program, Department of Biological Sciences, Allergan Inc., 2525 Dupont Drive, Irvine, CA 92612-1599, USA.


Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is a potent biological substance used to treat neuromuscular and pain disorders. Both BoNT type A and BoNT type E display high-affinity uptake into motor neurons and inhibit exocytosis through cleavage of the synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP25). The therapeutic effects of BoNT/A last from 3 to 12 months, whereas the effects of BoNT/E last less than 4 weeks. Using confocal microscopy and site-specific mutagenesis, we have determined that the protease domain of BoNT/A light chain (BoNT/A-LC) localizes in a punctate manner to the plasma membrane, colocalizing with the cleaved product, SNAP25(197). In contrast, the short-duration BoNT/E serotype is cytoplasmic. Mutations in the BoNT/A-LC have revealed sequences at the N terminus necessary for plasma membrane localization, and an active dileucine motif in the C terminus that is likely involved in trafficking and interaction with adaptor proteins. These data support sequence-specific signals as determinants of intracellular localization and as a basis for the different durations of action in these two BoNT serotypes.

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