Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

October 1986


Published in APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, Oct. 1986, p. 644-649 Vol. 52, No. 4. Copyright © 1986, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The immunological relationships among the proteins of the mosquito larvicidal toxin produced by Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis have been investigated by using polyclonal antisera specific for the 28-, 70-, and 135-kilodalton proteins. Each of these proteins was immunologically distinct. There was no cross-reaction among the three proteins and the two non-homologous antisera. Treatment of toxin proteins with larval gut enzymes for 20 h identified protease-resistant domains at approximately 65, 38, and 22 kilodaltons. Similar domains were generated by treatment with trypsin and chymotrypsin. Our immunological and kinetic data indicate that the 28-kilodalton protein is degraded successively to protein bands at 26, 25, 23, and 22 kilodaltons, the 70-kilodalton protein is degraded to a protein at 38 kilodaltons, and the 135-kilodalton protein is degraded successively to protein bands at 94, 72, and, probably, 65 kilodaltons. Solubilized toxin possesses two biological activities, larvicidal and general cytolytic (hemolytic). We used nondenaturing gel electrophoresis to show that the hemolytic activity resides in the 28-kilodalton protein. However, higher-molecular-weight proteins are required to achieve the level of toxicity observed in intact toxin.

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