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J Cell Sci. 2012 Jul 1;125(Pt 13):3233-42. doi: 10.1242/jcs.103564. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Botulinum neurotoxin D-C uses synaptotagmin I and II as receptors, and human synaptotagmin II is not an effective receptor for type B, D-C and G toxins.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School and Division of Neuroscience, New England Primate Research Center, Southborough, MA 01772, USA.


Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are classified into seven types (A-G), but multiple subtype and mosaic toxins exist. These subtype and mosaic toxins share a high sequence identity, and presumably the same receptors and substrates with their parental toxins. Here, we report that a mosaic toxin, type D-C (BoNT/D-C), uses different receptors from its parental toxin BoNT/C. BoNT/D-C, but not BoNT/C, binds directly to the luminal domains of synaptic vesicle proteins synaptotagmin (Syt) I and II, and requires expression of SytI/II to enter neurons. The SytII luminal fragment containing the toxin-binding site can block the entry of BoNT/D-C into neurons and reduce its toxicity in vivo in mice. We also found that gangliosides increase binding of BoNT/D-C to SytI/II and enhance the ability of the SytII luminal fragment to block BoNT/D-C entry into neurons. These data establish SytI/II, in conjunction with gangliosides, as the receptors for BoNT/D-C, and indicate that BoNT/D-C is functionally distinct from BoNT/C. We further found that BoNT/D-C recognizes the same binding site on SytI/II where BoNT/B and G also bind, but utilizes a receptor-binding interface that is distinct from BoNT/B and G. Finally, we also report that human and chimpanzee SytII has diminished binding and function as the receptor for BoNT/B, D-C and G owing to a single residue change from rodent SytII within the toxin binding site, potentially reducing the potency of these BoNTs in humans and chimpanzees.

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