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Matrix Biol. 2008 Mar;27(2):96-106. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

EMILINs interact with anthrax protective antigen and inhibit toxin action in vitro.

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Divisione di Oncologia Sperimentale 2, CRO-IRCCS, Aviano, Italy.


The informational spectrum method (ISM) is a virtual spectroscopy method for the fast analysis of potential protein-protein relationships. By applying the ISM approach to the GeneBank protein database the vascular proteins EMILIN1 (Elastin Microfibril Interface Located ProteIN), EMILIN2, MMN1, and MMN2 were identified as additional anthrax PA antigen interacting molecules. This virtual molecular interaction was formally proven by solid phase assays using recombinant proteins. The interaction is independent of the presence of divalent cations and does not involve PA aspartic residue at 683, a critical residue in receptor binding. In fact, the D683A point mutation fully prevented the cell intoxication ability of PA in the presence of Lethal Factor, but it was fully ineffective on the binding of mutated PA to EMILIN1 and EMILIN2. The ISM approach also led to the identification of the potential interaction sites between PA and EMILINs. A PA mutant with a deletion at residue D425 and solid phase protein-protein interaction studies as well as deletion mutant of EMILIN2 confirmed the hypothesized interaction site. Our findings imply that the PA-cell surface receptor interaction is not likely to provide the full explanation for the vascular lesions and prominent hemorrhages that follow Bacillus anthracis infection and spreading and call into play vascular associated proteins such as EMILINs as potential inhibitory proteins.

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