Detection and quantification of botulinum neurotoxin type a by a novel rapid in vitro fluorimetric assay.
ABSTRACT: Botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A), the most poisonous substance known to humans, is a potential bioterrorism agent. The light-chain protein induces a flaccid paralysis through cleavage of the 25-kDa synaptosome-associated protein (SNAP-25), involved in acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction. BoNT/A is widely used as a therapeutic agent and to reduce wrinkles. The toxin is used at very low doses, which have to be accurately quantified. With this aim, internally quenched fluorescent substrates containing the fluorophore/repressor pair pyrenylalanine (Pya)/4-nitrophenylalanine (Nop) were developed. Nop and Pya were, respectively, introduced at positions 197 and 200 of the cleavable fragment (amino acids 187 to 203) of SNAP-25 (with norleucine at position 202 [Nle(202)]), which is acetylated at its N terminus and amidated at its C terminus. Cleavage of this peptide occurred between positions 197 and 198, as in SNAP-25, and was easily quantified by the strong fluorescence emission of the metabolite. To increase the assay sensitivity, the peptide sequence of the previous substrate was lengthened to account for exosite binding to BoNT/A. We synthesized the peptide PL50 (SNAP-25-NH(2) acetylated at positions 156 to 203 [Nop(197), Pya(200), Nle(202)]) and its analogue PL51, in which all methionines were replaced by nonoxidizable Nle. Consistent with a large increase in affinity for BoNT/A, PL50 and PL51 exhibit catalytic efficiencies of 2.6 x 10(6) M(-1) s(-1) and 8.85 x 10(6) M(-1) s(-1), respectively, and behave as the best fluorigenic substrates of BoNT/A reported to date. Under optimized assay conditions, they allow simple quantification of as little as 100 and 60 pg of BoNT/A, respectively, within 2 h with a classical fluorimeter. Calibration of the method against the mouse 50% lethal dose assay unequivocally validates the enzymatic assay.
Project description:The seven antigenically distinct serotypes of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxins, the causative agents of botulism, block the neurotransmitter release by specifically cleaving one of the three SNARE proteins and induce flaccid paralysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared them as Category A biowarfare agents. The most potent among them, botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A), cleaves its substrate synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25). An efficient drug for botulism can be developed only with the knowledge of interactions between the substrate and enzyme at the active site. Here, we report the crystal structures of the catalytic domain of BoNT/A with its uncleavable SNAP-25 peptide (197)QRATKM(202) and its variant (197)RRATKM(202) to 1.5 A and 1.6 A, respectively. This is the first time the structure of an uncleavable substrate bound to an active botulinum neurotoxin is reported and it has helped in unequivocally defining S1 to S5' sites. These substrate peptides make interactions with the enzyme predominantly by the residues from 160, 200, 250 and 370 loops. Most notably, the amino nitrogen and carbonyl oxygen of P1 residue (Gln197) chelate the zinc ion and replace the nucleophilic water. The P1'-Arg198, occupies the S1' site formed by Arg363, Thr220, Asp370, Thr215, Ile161, Phe163 and Phe194. The S2' subsite is formed by Arg363, Asn368 and Asp370, while S3' subsite is formed by Tyr251, Leu256, Val258, Tyr366, Phe369 and Asn388. P4'-Lys201 makes hydrogen bond with Gln162. P5'-Met202 binds in the hydrophobic pocket formed by the residues from the 250 and 200 loop. Knowledge of interactions between the enzyme and substrate peptide from these complex structures should form the basis for design of potent inhibitors for this neurotoxin.
Project description:The highly potent vasoconstrictor peptide endothelin (ET) is generated from an inactive precursor, big endothelin (bET), by endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE). ECE is a phosphoramidon-sensitive zinc metallopeptidase, which is closely related to neprilysin (neutral endopeptidase). It is possible that compounds which inhibit the formation of ET may be used as new drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Such an approach requires a fast, simple and selective assay to measure ECE activity, allowing rapid screening of inhibitors. We describe here two new ECE substrates based on the concept of 'intramolecularly quenched fluorescence' which may fulfill this aim. One, S(1) [Pya(21)-Nop(22)-bET-1(19--35)], is the (19--35) fragment of the natural peptide big-ET-1(1--38), which is modified by introducing the fluorescent amino acid, pyrenylalanine (Pya), in position 21 and a quencher, p-nitrophenylalanine (Nop), in position 22. The second substrate (S(2)) is a small peptide, Ac-Ser-Gly-Pya-Lys-Ala-Phe-Ala-Nop-Gly-Lys-NH(2), from a biased substrate peptide library. The recombinant, hECE-1c, cleaved both Pya(21)-Nop(22)-bET-1(19--35) and the natural substrate selectively between residues 21 and 22, whereas cleavage occurred between alanine and phenylalanine in the small peptide. In both cases, this generated intense fluorescence emission. The synthesis and kinetic parameters of these substrates are described. These assays, which can be used directly on tissue homogenates, are the most sensitive and selective described to date for ECE, and are easily automated for a high-throughput screening of inhibitors.
Project description:Botulinum toxins (BoNTs), of which there are seven serotypes, are among the most potent neurotoxins, with serotypes A, B and E causing human botulism. Antitoxins form the first line of treatment for botulism, and functional, highly sensitive in vitro methods for toxin neutralization are needed to replace the current in vivo methods used for determination of antitoxin potency. In this preliminary proof of concept study, we report the development of a neutralization test using the neuroblastoma SiMa cell line. The assay is serotype specific for either BoNT/A or BoNT/E, which both cleave unique sequences on SNAP-25 within SiMa cells. The end point is simple immunodetection of cleaved SNAP-25 from cell lysates with antibodies detecting only the newly exposed sequence on SNAP-25. Neutralizing antibodies prevent the toxin-induced cleavage of SNAP-25. The toxin neutralization assay, with an EC50 of ~2 mIU/mL determined with a standardized reference antiserum, is more sensitive than the mouse bioassays. Relevance was demonstrated with commercial and experimental antitoxins targeting different functional domains, and of known in vivo neutralizing activities. This is the first report describing a simple, specific, in vitro cell-based assay for the detection of neutralizing antibodies against BoNT/A and BoNT/E with a sensitivity exceeding that of the mouse bioassay.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are bacterial proteins that cause botulism, a life-threatening disease. The Endopep-MS assay permits rapid detection and serotypic differential diagnosis of BoNTs. The serotype-specific nature of this assay requires that each serum sample be aliquoted and individually tested, which in addition to the limited volume of clinical samples, especially in infants, points to the need for a multiplex assay. However, previous attempts to develop such an assay have been challenging, mainly due to inhibition of BoNT/A activity by the BoNT/E peptide substrate. BoNT/A and BoNT/E share the same native target protein as their substrate. We hypothesized that the steric interference between the BoNT/A and BoNT/E substrate peptides is responsible for the difficulty in simultaneously assaying these two toxins. To explore the basis for steric interference, we used the reported structure of BoNT/A in complex with SNAP-25 and modelled the structure of BoNT/E with SNAP-25. Following this thorough structural analysis, we designed a new peptide substrate for BoNT/A that maintained the assay sensitivity and allowed, for the first time, simultaneous detection of the three most abundant human botulinum serotypes. Adopting the multiplex assay will minimize the required sample volume and assay time for botulinum detection while maintaining the superior Endopep-MS assay performance.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) is one of the most deadly toxins and is the etiological agent of the potentially fatal condition, botulism. Herein, we investigated 8-hydroxyquinoline (quinolin-8-ol) as a potential inhibitor scaffold for preventing the deadly neurochemical effects of the toxin. Quinolinols are known chelators that can disrupt the BoNT/A metalloprotease zinc-containing active site, thus impeding its proteolysis of the endogenous protein substrate, synaptosomal-associated protein 25 (SNAP-25). By use of this information, the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of the quinolinol-5-sulfonamide scaffold was explored through preparation of a crude sulfonamide library and evaluation of the library in a BoNT/A LC enzymatic assay. Potency optimization of the sulfonamide hit compounds was undertaken as informed by docking studies, granting a lead compound with a submicromolar Ki. These quinolinol analogues demonstrated inhibitory activity in a cell-based model for SNAP-25 cleavage and an ex vivo assay for BoNT/A-mediated muscle paralysis.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin serotype C (BoNT/C) is a neuroparalytic toxin associated with outbreaks of animal botulism, particularly in birds, and is the only BoNT known to cleave two different SNARE proteins, SNAP-25 and syntaxin. BoNT/C was shown to be a good substitute for BoNT/A1 in human dystonia therapy because of its long lasting effects and absence of neuromuscular damage. Two triple mutants of BoNT/C, namely BoNT/C S51T/R52N/N53P (BoNT/C ?-51) and BoNT/C L200W/M221W/I226W (BoNT/C ?-3W), were recently reported to selectively cleave syntaxin and have been used here to evaluate the individual contribution of SNAP-25 and syntaxin cleavage to the effect of BoNT/C in vivo. Although BoNT/C ?-51 and BoNT/C ?-3W toxins cleave syntaxin with similar efficiency, we unexpectedly found also cleavage of SNAP-25, although to a lesser extent than wild type BoNT/C. Interestingly, the BoNT/C mutants exhibit reduced lethality compared to wild type toxin, a result that correlated with their residual activity against SNAP-25. In spite of this, a local injection of BoNT/C ?-51 persistently impairs neuromuscular junction activity. This is due to an initial phase in which SNAP-25 cleavage causes a complete blockade of neurotransmission, and to a second phase of incomplete impairment ascribable to syntaxin cleavage. Together, these results indicate that neuroparalysis of BoNT/C at the neuromuscular junction is due to SNAP-25 cleavage, while the proteolysis of syntaxin provides a substantial, but incomplete, neuromuscular impairment. In light of this evidence, we discuss a possible clinical use of BoNT/C ?-51 as a botulinum neurotoxin endowed with a wide safety margin and a long lasting effect.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT/A-G) act by blocking synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Whether BoNTs disrupt additional neuronal functions has not been addressed. Here we report that cleavage of syntaxin 1 by BoNT/C, and cleavage of SNAP-25 by BoNT/E both induce degeneration of neurons. Furthermore, although SNAP-25 cleaved by BoNT/A still supports neuron survival, it has reduced capacity to tolerate additional mutations. We demonstrate that syntaxin 1 and SNAP-25 cooperate as SNARE proteins to support neuron survival. Exogenous expression of other homologous SNARE proteins, syntaxin 2/3/4 and SNAP-23, which are resistant to BoNT/C and E in neurons, can substitute syntaxin 1/SNAP-25 and prevent toxin-induced neuron death. Finally, we find that neuronal death is due to blockage of plasma membrane recycling processes that utilize syntaxin 1/SNAP-25, independent of synaptic vesicle exocytosis. These findings establish neuronal cytotoxicity for BoNTs and reveal syntaxin 1/SNAP-25 as the ubiquitous and essential SNARE proteins mediating multiple fusion events on neuronal plasma membranes.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) block neurotransmitter release through their specific proteolysis of the proteins responsible for vesicle exocytosis. Paradoxically, two serotypes of BoNTs, A and E, cleave the same molecule, synaptosome-associated protein with relative molecular mass 25K (SNAP-25), and yet they cause synaptic blockade with very different properties. Here we compared the action of BoNTs A and E on the plasma membrane fusion machinery composed of syntaxin and SNAP-25. We now show that the BoNT/A-cleaved SNAP-25 maintains its association with two syntaxin isoforms in vitro, which is mirrored by retention of SNAP-25 on the plasma membrane in vivo. In contrast, BoNT/E severely compromises the ability of SNAP-25 to bind the plasma membrane syntaxin isoforms, leading to dissociation of SNAP-25. The distinct properties of botulinum intoxication, therefore, can result from the ability of shortened SNAP-25 to maintain its association with syntaxins-in the case of BoNT/A poisoning resulting in unproductive syntaxin/SNAP-25 complexes that impede vesicle exocytosis.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) and tetanus neurotoxin (TeNT) inhibit neurotransmitter release by proteolyzing a single peptide bond in one of the three soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors SNAP-25, syntaxin, and vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP)/synaptobrevin. TeNT and BoNT/B, D, F, and G of the seven known BoNTs cleave the synaptic vesicle protein VAMP/synaptobrevin. Except for BoNT/B and TeNT, they cleave unique peptide bonds, and prior work suggested that different substrate segments are required for the interaction of each toxin. Although the mode of SNAP-25 cleavage by BoNT/A and E has recently been studied in detail, the mechanism of VAMP/synaptobrevin proteolysis is fragmentary. Here, we report the determination of all substrate residues that are involved in the interaction with BoNT/B, D, and F and TeNT by means of systematic mutagenesis of VAMP/synaptobrevin. For each of the toxins, three or more residues clustered at an N-terminal site remote from the respective scissile bond are identified that affect solely substrate binding. These exosites exhibit different sizes and distances to the scissile peptide bonds for each neurotoxin. Substrate segments C-terminal of the cleavage site (P4-P4') do not play a role in the catalytic process. Mutation of residues in the proximity of the scissile bond exclusively affects the turnover number; however, the importance of individual positions at the cleavage sites varied for each toxin. The data show that, similar to the SNAP-25 proteolyzing BoNT/A and E, VAMP/synaptobrevin-specific clostridial neurotoxins also initiate substrate interaction, employing an exosite located N-terminal of the scissile peptide bond.
Project description:The tSNARE (the target-membrane soluble NSF-attachment protein receptor, where NSF is N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein) synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) is expressed in pancreatic B-cells and its cleavage by botulinum neurotoxin E (BoNT/E) abolishes stimulated secretion of insulin. In the nervous system, two SNAP-25 isoforms (a and b) have been described that are produced by alternative splicing. Here it is shown, using reverse transcriptase PCR, that messages for both SNAP-25 isoforms are expressed in primary pancreatic B and non-B cells as well as in insulin-secreting cell lines. After transfection, both isoforms can be detected at the plasma membrane as well as in an intracellular perinuclear region in the insulin-secreting cell line, HIT. To test for the functional role of the two isoforms in insulin secretion, mutant forms of SNAP-25a and b resistant against cleavage by BoNT/E were generated. Such mutant SNAP-25, when expressed in HIT cells, is not inactivated by BoNT/E and its ability to restore insulin secretion can thus be investigated. To obtain the toxin-resistant mutant isoforms, the sequence around the BoNT/E cleavage site (R176QIDRIM182) was changed to P176QIKRIT182. This is the sequence of the equivalent region of human SNAP-23 (P187-T194), which has been shown to be resistant to BoNT/E. The mutant SNAP-25 was resistant to BoNT/E in vitro and in vivo and both mutant isoforms were able to reconstitute insulin secretion from toxin-treated HIT cells.