Differences in the Protease Activities of Tetanus and Botulinum B Toxins Revealed by the Cleavage of Vesicle-Associated Membrane Protein and Various Sized Fragments

Patrick Foran, Clifford Shone, J. Oliver Dolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Botulinum neurotoxin serotype B (BoNT/B) and tetanus toxin (TeTx) block neuroexocytosis through selective endoproteolysis of vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP). The enzymological properties of both toxins were compared for the first time in their cleavage of VAMP and various sized fragments using a sensitive chromatographic assay. The optimal substrate sizes for the zinc-dependent protease activities of the light chains of TeTx and BoNT/B were established using synthetic peptides corresponding to the hydrophilic core of VAMP (30–62 amino acids in length). TeTx was found to selectively cleave the largest peptide at a single site, Gln76-Phe77. It exhibited the most demanding specificity, requiring the entire hydrophilic domain (a 62-mer) for notable hydrolysis, whereas BoNT/B efficiently cleaved the much smaller 40-mer. Thus, an unusually long N-terminal sequence of 44 amino acids upstream of the scissile bond is required for the selective hydrolysis of VAMP by TeTx. Using the largest peptide, BoNT/B and TeTx exhibited ∼50% and 35%, respectively, of the activities shown toward intact VAMP, detergent solubilized from synaptic vesicles. Given the large size of the smallest substrates, it is possible that these neurotoxins recognize and require a three-dimensional structure. Although both toxins were inactivated by divalent metal chelators, neither was antagonized by phosphoramidon or ASQFETS (a substrate-related peptide that spans the cleavage site), and TeTx was only feebly inhibited by captopril; also, they were distinguishable in their relative activities at different pHs, temperatures, and ionic strengths. These collective findings are important in the design of effective inhibitors for both toxins, as well as in raising the possibility that TeTx and BoNT/B interact somewhat differently with VAMP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15365-15374
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemistry
Volume33
Issue number51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1994

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