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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Proteolysis in the gut of mosquito larvae results in further activation of the Bacillus sphaericus toxin.

Gut proteases from the larvae of the mosquito Culex pipiens convert the 43-kilodalton (kDa) toxin from Bacillus sphaericus 2362 to a 40-kDa peptide. The 50% lethal concentration of this peptide for tissue culture-grown cells of Culex quinquefasciatus was 1.0 microgram/ml (as determined by the intracellular ATP assay), 54-fold less than that of the 43-kDa peptide. Gut proteases from Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti, as well as bovine pancreatic trypsin, also converted the 43-kDa protein to a 40-kDa peptide which was indistinguishable from the peptide formed by the proteases from C. pipiens with respect to its toxicity to tissue culture-grown cells of C. quinquefasciatus. Evidence for the in vivo conversion of the 43-kDa protein to the 40-kDa peptide was also obtained from experiments in which larvae of C. pipiens, Anopheles gambiae, and Aedes aegypti were fed crystals from B. sphaericus 2362. By using the exclusion of trypan blue as an indication of cell viability, it was shown that chitobiose, chitotriose, N-acetylmuramic acid, and N-acetylneuraminic acid decreased the toxicity of the 40-kDa peptide (from 100 to 50% mortality at about 10 mM concentrations of these sugars). Muramic acid, N-acetylgalactosamine, and N-acetylglucosamine were less effective, while several sugars had no effect, suggesting that the 40-kDa toxin binds to specific receptors on the cell membrane. The 40-kDa protein was less toxic to tissue culture-grown cells of Anopheles gambiae and Aedes dorsalis, and the same sugars which reduced the toxicity for cells of C. quinquefasciatus were also effective in reduction of toxicity for these cell lines.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[1]


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