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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(1):381-92.

Characterization of the C-terminal domain essential for toxic activity of adenylate cyclase toxin.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.


Adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA) of Bordetella pertussis belongs to the RTX family of toxins. These toxins are characterized by a series of glycine- and aspartaterich nonapeptide repeats located at the C-terminal half of the toxin molecules. For activity, RTX toxins require Ca2+, which is bound through the repeat region. Here, we identified a stretch of 15 amino acids (block A) that is located C-terminally to the repeat and is essential for the toxic activity of CyaA. Block A is required for the insertion of CyaA into the plasma membranes of host cells. Mixing of a short polypeptide composed of block A and eight Ca2+ binding repeats with a mutant of CyaA lacking block A restores toxic activity fully. This in vitro interpolypeptide complementation is achieved only when block A is present together with the Ca2+ binding repeats on the same polypeptide. Neither a short polypeptide composed of block A only nor a polypeptide consisting of eight Ca2+ binding repeats, or a mixture of these two polypeptides, complement toxic activity. It is suggested that functional complementation occurs because of binding between the Ca2+ binding repeats of the short C-terminal polypeptide and the Ca2+ binding repeats of the CyaA mutant lacking block A.

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