Author(s): Milne JC, Furlong D, Hanna PC, Wall JS, Collier RJ
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Abstract The protective antigen component (PA) of anthrax toxin binds to receptors on target cells and conveys the toxin's edema factor (EF) and lethal factor (LF) components into the cytoplasm. PA (83 kDa) is processed by a cellular protease, yielding a 63-kDa fragment (PA63), which binds EF and/or LF. When exposed to acidic pH, PA63 inserts into membranes and forms ion-conductive channels. By electron microscopy, a significant fraction of purified PA63 was found to be in the form of a multi-subunit ring-shaped oligomer (outer diameter, 10.4 nm). The rings are heptameric, as judged by inspection and by rotational power spectra. Purified PA63 showed a high M(r) band, apparently corresponding to the oligomer, on SDS-polyacrylamide gels, and oligomer of similar size was formed in cells in a time-dependent manner after addition of full-length PA. Inhibitors of internalization and endosome acidification blocked conversion of cell-associated PA to a high molecular weight species, and medium at pH 5.0 induced oligomer formation in the presence or absence of the inhibitors. These results correlate PA63 oligomerization with conditions required for translocation of EF and LF across lipid bilayers, implying that the PA63 oligomer may function in translocation.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense