Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 15304366
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.febslet.2004.06.094
FEBS Lett. 2004 Aug 13;572(1-3):299-306
The botulinum neurotoxin A C-terminal fragment (Hc), which mediates the binding of the toxin to neuronal cell surface receptors, comprises two subdomains, Hc-N (amino acids 873-1095) and Hc-C (amino acids 1096-1296). In order to define the minimal fragment of Hc carrying protective antigenic properties, Hc, Hc-N and Hc-C have been produced as recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli, and have been tested for their antigenicity in mouse protection assays. Hc, Hc-N and Hc-C induced similar antibody levels as shown by ELISA. However, a single immunization with Hc (10 microg) fully protected mice challenged with 10(3) mouse lethal dose 50 of toxin, whereas Hc-N, Hc-C, or Hc-N plus Hc-C did not give any protection. Triple immunizations with Hc-N or Hc-C were necessary to induce a higher level of protection. Circular dichroism and fluorescence studies showed that the isolated subdomains were folded and stable. However, an intense near-UV dichroic signal was only observed in the Hc spectrum, revealing a highly structured interface between both subdomains. Taken together, the results show that the generation of protective antibodies requires the whole Hc domain and especially the native structure of the interfacial region between Hc-N and Hc-C.