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Mol Gen Genet. 1988 Nov;214(3):553-61.

The repeat domain of Escherichia coli haemolysin (HlyA) is responsible for its Ca2+-dependent binding to erythrocytes.

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Institut für Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Universität Würzburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The haemolysin protein (HlyA) of Escherichia coli contains 11 tandemly repeated sequences consisting of 9 amino acids each between amino acids 739 and 849 of HlyA. We removed, by oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis, different single repeats and combinations of several repeats. The resulting mutant proteins were perfectly stable in E. coli and were secreted with the same efficiency as the wild-type HlyA. HlyA proteins which had lost a single repeat only were still haemolytically active (in the presence of HlyC) but required elevated levels of Ca2+ for activity, as compared to the wild-type haemolysin. Removal of three or more repeats led to the complete loss of the haemolytic activity even in the presence of high Ca2+ concentrations. The mutant haemolysins were unable to compete with the wild-type haemolysin for binding to erythrocytes at low Ca2+ concentrations but could still generate ion-permeable channels in artificial lipid bilayer membranes formed of plant asolectin, even in the complete absence of Ca2+. These data indicate that the repeat domain of haemolysin is responsible for Ca2+-dependent binding of haemolysin to the erythrocyte membrane. A model for the possible functional role of Ca2+ in haemolysis is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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