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FEBS Lett. 1997 Jun 30;410(2-3):397-402.

Restriction of intramolecular movements within the Cry1Aa toxin molecule of Bacillus thuringiensis through disulfide bond engineering.

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Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal, Quebec.


Disulfide bridges were introduced into CrylAa, a Bacillus thuringiensis lepidopteran toxin, to stabilize different protein domains including domain I alpha-helical regions thought to be involved in membrane integration and permeation. Bridged mutants could not form functional ion channels in lipid bilayers in the oxidized state, but upon reduction with beta-mercaptoethanol, regained parental toxin channel activity. Our results show that unfolding of the protein around a hinge region linking domain I and II is a necessary step for pore formation. They also suggest that membrane insertion of the hydrophobic hairpin made of alpha-helices 4 and 5 in domain I plays a critical role in the formation of a functional pore.

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