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J Invertebr Pathol. 1997 Jul;70(1):41-9.

Intramolecular proteolytic cleavage of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry3A delta-endotoxin may facilitate its coleopteran toxicity.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The Cry3A delta-endotoxin protein inclusion synthesized by Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. tenebrionis is soluble in alkaline and acid buffer solutions but the toxin precipitates when returned to neutral pH conditions. The midgut pH of susceptible beetle larvae is neutral to slightly acidic, a pH environment in which the Cry3A toxin is insoluble. To investigate this paradox we studied the Cry3A toxin after various proteolytic treatments. In many cases the toxin was cleaved into polypeptides that remained associated under non-denaturing conditions. Interestingly a chymotrypsinized Cry3A product was soluble under neutral pH conditions, retained full activity against susceptible beetle larvae, and exhibited specific binding to Leptinotarsa decemlineata midgut membranes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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