The Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal toxin binds biotin-containing proteins

D. U. Cheng, Kenneth W. Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Brush border membrane vesicles from larvae of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta, contain protein bands of 85 and 120 kDa which react directly with streptavidin conjugated to alkaline phosphatase. The binding could be prevented either by including 10 μM biotin in the reaction mixture or by prior incubation of the brush border membrane vesicles with an activated 60- to 65-kDa toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis HD-73. The ability of B. thuringiensis toxins to recognize biotin-containing proteins was confirmed by their binding to pyruvate carboxylase, a biotin-containing enzyme, as well as to biotinylated ovalbumin and biotinylated bovine serum albumin but not to their nonbiotinylated counterparts. Activated HD-73 toxin also inhibited the enzymatic activity of pyruvate carboxylase. The biotin binding site is likely contained in domain III of the toxin. Two highly conserved regions within domain III are similar in sequence to the biotin binding sites of avidin, streptavidin, and a biotin-specific monoclonal antibody. In particular, block 4 of the B. thuringiensis toxin contains the YAS biotin-specific motif. On the basis of its N-terminal amino acid sequence, the 120-kDa biotin- containing protein is totally distinct from the 120-kDa aminopeptidase N reported to be a receptor for Cry1Ac toxin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2932-2939
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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