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FEBS Lett. 2009 Jul 21;583(14):2321-5. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.06.046. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Electric dipole reorientation in the interaction of botulinum neurotoxins with neuronal membranes.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies, University of Udine, Piazzale Kolbe 4, 33100 Udine, Italy.


Botulinum neurotoxins are highly potent toxins capable of rapid and specific interaction with the presynaptic membrane. We have hypothesised that: (1) these neurotoxins possess an electric dipole with the positive pole on receptor binding domain Hc-C and that (2) on approaching the negatively charged presynaptic membrane, they reorient themselves and hit the membrane surface with Hc-C; this electrostatic effect would contribute efficient binding. Electrostatic calculations confirm these hypotheses and strongly indicate that electrostatics effects can play an important role in the unique presynaptic membrane binding properties of these neurotoxins and generally on the interaction of other plasma membrane protein ligands.

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