Author(s): Stanley P, Koronakis V, Hughes C
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Abstract The pore-forming hemolysin (HlyA) of Escherichia coli represents a unique class of bacterial toxins that require a posttranslational modification for activity. The inactive protoxin pro-HlyA is activated intracellularly by amide linkage of fatty acids to two internal lysine residues 126 amino acids apart, directed by the cosynthesized HlyC protein with acyl carrier protein as the fatty acid donor. This action distinguishes HlyC from all bacterial acyltransferases such as the lipid A, lux-specific, and nodulation acyltransferases, and from eukaryotic transferases such as N-myristoyl transferases, prenyltransferases, and thioester palmitoyltransferases. Most lipids directly attached to proteins may be classed as N-terminal amide-linked and internal ester-linked acyl groups and C-terminal ether-linked isoprenoid groups. The acylation of HlyA and related toxins does not equate to these but does appear related to a small number of eukaryotic proteins that include inflammatory cytokines and mitogenic and cholinergic receptors. While the location and structure of lipid moieties on proteins vary, there are common effects on membrane affinity and/or protein-protein interactions. Despite being acylated at two residues, HlyA does not possess a "double-anchor" motif and does not have an electrostatic switch, although its dependence on calcium binding for activity suggests that the calcium-myristoyl switch may have relevance. The acyl chains on HlyA may provide anchorage points onto the surface of the host cell lipid bilayer. These could then enhance protein-protein interactions either between HlyA and components of a host signal transduction pathway to influence cytokine production or between HlyA monomers to bring about oligomerization during pore formation.
This article was published in Microbiol Mol Biol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology