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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1988 Oct;266(1):142-51.

Botulinum neurotoxin type A: cleavage of the heavy chain into two halves and their partial sequences.

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Food Research Institute, Madison, Wisconsin.


The 145-kDa type A botulinum neurotoxin (NT) is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum (strain, Hall). The heavy (H) and light (L) chains (97- and 53-kDa, respectively) of this protein are linked by at least one disulfide bond. The N- and C-terminal halves of the H chain appear to have different functions in the mechanism of action of the NT [1987) FEBS Lett. 226, 115-120). Well-characterized and highly purified preparations of the two halves of the H chain are needed for such studies. Two different approaches were taken to cut the H chain with trypsin and isolate the fragments. In one method the cleavage products were: (i) 94-kDa fragment made of the L chain linked to the N-terminal half of the H chain (49 kDa) by a disulfide bond(s), and (ii) the C-terminal 44-kDa fragment. The N-terminal half of H chain was separated from the L chain by reducing the disulfide bond(s) linking them and then purified by ion-exchange chromatography. The 1-27 residues of 49-kDa N-terminal half of the H chain were Ala-Leu-Asn-Asp-Leu-Cys-Ile-Lys-Val-Asn-Asn-Trp-Asp-Leu-Phe-Phe-Ser-Pro- Ser-Glu - Asp-Asn-Phe-Thr-Asn-Asp-Leu-. The sequence of the other half of the H chain (44 kDa) was X-Ile-Ile-Asn-Leu-X-Ile-Leu-Asn-Leu-Arg-Tyr-Glu-X-Asn-His-Leu-Ile-Asp-Le u-Lys- X-Tyr-Ala-Ser-. In the second method, the H chain was first separated from the L chain, purified, and then cleaved. One product of cleavage, the 44-kDa fragment, was partially sequenced; the first 25 residues were identical to the sequence of the 44-kDa fragment generated by the first method. The present work also demonstrated that (i) The cysteine residue(s) located on the N-terminal half of the H chain form the -S-S- link(s) with the L chain. (ii) The other half of the H chain (44-kDa fragment, apparently the C-terminal half) is not linked via -S-S- to the L-chain or to the N-terminal half (49-kDa fragment) of the H chain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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