"Non-Toxic" Proteins of the Botulinum Toxin Complex Exert In-vivo Toxicity.
ABSTRACT: The botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) causes muscle paralysis and is the most potent toxin in nature. BoNT is associated with a complex of auxiliary "Non-Toxic" proteins, which constitute a large-sized toxin complex (L-TC). However, here we report that the "Non-Toxic" complex of serotype D botulinum L-TC, when administered to rats, exerts in-vivo toxicity on small-intestinal villi. Moreover, Serotype C and D of the "Non-Toxic" complex, but not BoNT, induced vacuole-formation in a rat intestinal epithelial cell line (IEC-6), resulting in cell death. Our results suggest that the vacuole was formed in a manner distinct from the mechanism by which Helicobacter pylori vacuolating toxin (VacA) and Vibrio cholerae haemolysin induce vacuolation. We therefore hypothesise that the serotype C and D botulinum toxin complex is a functional hybrid of the neurotoxin and vacuolating toxin (VT) which arose from horizontal gene transfer from an ancestral BoNT-producing bacterium to a hypothetical VT-producing bacterium.
Project description:The highly potent botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) inhibits neurotransmitter release at neuromuscular junctions resulting in flaccid muscle paralysis, respiratory arrest and death. In order to reach their neuronal cell targets, BoNT/A must cross epithelial cell barriers lining the intestines and airways. The toxin is produced as a large protein complex comprised of the neurotoxin and non-toxic neurotoxin-associated proteins (NAPs). Although NAPs are known to protect the toxin from harsh environments, their role in the movement of BoNT/A across epithelial barriers has not been fully characterized. In the current study, movement of the toxin across epithelial cells was examined macroscopically using a sensitive near infrared fluorescence transcytosis assay and microscopically using fluorescently labeled toxin and confocal microscopy. The studies show that the BoNT/A complex internalizes more rapidly than the pure toxin. The studies also show that one NAP protein, hemaglutinin 33 (Hn33), enhanced both the binding and movement of a deactivated recombinant botulinum neurotoxin A (DrBoNT) across epithelial cell monolayers and that the toxin associates with Hn33 on the cell surface. Collectively, the data demonstrate that, in addition to their protective role, NAPs and Hn33 play an important role in BoNT/A intoxication.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are some of the most poisonous natural toxins. Botulinum neurotoxins associate with neurotoxin-associated proteins (NAPs) forming large complexes that are protected from the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract. However, it is still unclear how BoNT complexes as large as 900?kDa traverse the epithelial barrier and what role NAPs play in toxin translocation. In this study, we examined the transit of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) holotoxin, complex and recombinantly purified NAP complex through cultured and polarized Caco-2 cells and, for the first time, in the small mouse intestine. Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A and NAPs in the toxin complex were detectable inside intestinal cells beginning at 2?h post intoxication. Appearance of the BoNT/A holotoxin signal was slower, with detection starting at 4-6?h. This indicated that the holotoxin alone was sufficient for entry but the presence of NAPs enhanced the rate of entry. Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A detection peaked at approximately 6 and 8?h for complex and holotoxin, respectively, and thereafter began to disperse with some toxin remaining in the epithelia after 24?h. Purified HA complexes alone were also internalized and followed a similar time course to that of BoNT/A complex internalization. However, recombinant HA complexes did not enhance BoNT/A holotoxin entry in the absence of a physical link with BoNT/A. We propose a model for BoNT/A toxin complex translocation whereby toxin complex entry is facilitated by NAPs in a receptor-mediated mechanism. Understanding the intestinal uptake of BoNT complexes will aid the development of new measures to prevent or treat oral intoxications.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is one of the most toxic substances known. BoNT is classified into seven distinct serotypes labeled A-G. Among individual serotypes, researchers have identified subtypes based on amino acid variability within a serotype and toxin variants with minor amino acid sequence differences within a subtype. BoNT subtype identification is valuable for tracing and tracking bacterial pathogens. A proteomics approach is useful for BoNT subtyping since botulism is caused by botulinum neurotoxin and does not require the presence of the bacteria or its DNA. Enzymatic digestion and peptide identification using tandem mass spectrometry determines toxin protein sequences. However, with the conventional one-step digestion method, producing sufficient numbers of detectable peptides to cover the entire protein sequence is difficult, and incomplete sequence coverage results in uncertainty in distinguishing BoNT subtypes and toxin variants because of high sequence similarity. We report here a method of multiple enzymes and sequential in-gel digestion (MESID) to characterize the BoNT protein sequence. Complementary peptide detection from toxin digestions has yielded near-complete sequence coverage for all seven BoNT serotypes. Application of the method to a BoNT-contaminated carrot juice sample resulted in the identification of 98.4% protein sequence which led to a confident determination of the toxin subtype.
Project description:The whole genomes for six botulinum neurotoxin-producing clostridial strains were sequenced to provide references for under-represented toxin types, bivalent strains or unusual toxin complexes associated with a bont gene. The strains include three Clostridium botulinum Group I strains (CDC 297, CDC 1436, and Prevot 594), a Group II C. botulinum strain (Eklund 202F), a Group IV Clostridium argentinense strain (CDC 2741), and a Group V Clostridium baratii strain (Sullivan). Comparisons of the Group I genomic sequences revealed close relationships and conservation of toxin gene locations with previously published Group I C. botulinum genomes. The bont/F6 gene of strain Eklund 202F was determined to be a chimeric toxin gene composed of bont/F1 and bont/F2. The serotype G strain CDC 2741 remained unfinished in 20 contigs with the bont/G located within a 1.15Mb contig, indicating a possible chromosomal location for this toxin gene. Within the genome of C. baratii Sullivan strain, direct repeats of IS1182 insertion sequence (IS) elements were identified flanking the bont/F7 toxin complex that may be the mechanism of bont insertion into C. baratii. Highlights of the six strains are described and release of their genomic sequences will allow further study of unusual neurotoxin-producing clostridial strains.
Project description:Botulism is a disease involving intoxication with botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), toxic proteins produced by Clostridium botulinum and other clostridia. The 150 kDa neurotoxin is produced in conjunction with other proteins to form the botulinum progenitor toxin complex (PTC), alternating in size from 300 kDa to 500 kDa. These progenitor complexes can be classified into hemagglutinin positive or hemagglutinin negative, depending on the ability of some of the neurotoxin-associated proteins (NAPs) to cause hemagglutination. The hemagglutinin positive progenitor toxin complex consists of BoNT, nontoxic non-hemagglutinin (NTNH), and three hemagglutinin proteins; HA-70, HA-33, and HA-17. Hemagglutinin negative progenitor toxin complexes contain BoNT and NTNH as the minimally functional PTC (M-PTC), but not the three hemagglutinin proteins. Interestingly, the genome of hemagglutinin negative progenitor toxin complexes comprises open reading frames (orfs) which encode for three proteins, but the existence of these proteins has not yet been extensively demonstrated. In this work, we demonstrate that these three proteins exist and form part of the PTC for hemagglutinin negative complexes. Several hemagglutinin negative strains producing BoNT/A, /E, and /F were found to contain the three open reading frame proteins. Additionally, several BoNT/A-containing bivalent strains were examined, and NAPs from both genes, including the open reading frame proteins, were associated with BoNT/A. The open reading frame encoded proteins are more easily removed from the botulinum complex than the hemagglutinin proteins, but are present in several BoNT/A and /F toxin preparations. These are not easily removed from the BoNT/E complex, however, and are present even in commercially-available purified BoNT/E complex.
Project description:The disease botulism is caused by intoxication with botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), extremely toxic proteins which cause paralysis. This neurotoxin is produced by some members of the Clostridium botulinum and closely related species, and is produced as a protein complex consisting of the neurotoxin and neurotoxin-associated proteins (NAPs). There are seven known serotypes of BoNT, A-G, and the composition of the NAPs can differ between these serotypes. It was previously published that the BoNT/G complex consisted of BoNT/G, nontoxic-nonhemagglutinin (NTNH), Hemagglutinin 70 (HA-70), and HA-17, but that HA-33, a component of the protein complex of other serotypes of BoNT, was not found.Components of the BoNT/G complex were first separated by SDS-PAGE, and bands corresponding to components of the complex were digested and analyzed by LC-MS/MS.Gel bands were identified with sequence coverages of 91% for BoNT/G, 91% for NTNH, 89% for HA-70, and 88% for HA-17. Notably, one gel band was also clearly identified as HA-33 with 93% sequence coverage.The BoNT/G complex consists of BoNT/G, NTNH, HA-70, HA-17, and HA-33. These proteins form the progenitor form of BoNT/G, similar to all other HA positive progenitor toxin complexes.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is the most potent poison known to mankind. Currently no antidote is available to rescue poisoned synapses. An effective medical countermeasure strategy would require developing a drug that could rescue poisoned neuromuscular synapses and include its efficient delivery specifically to poisoned presynaptic nerve terminals. Here we report a drug delivery strategy that could directly deliver toxin inhibitors into the intoxicated nerve terminal cytosol.A targeted delivery vehicle was developed for intracellular transport of emerging botulinum neurotoxin antagonists. The drug delivery vehicle consisted of the non-toxic recombinant heavy chain of botulinum neurotoxin-A coupled to a 10-kDa amino dextran via the heterobifunctional linker 3-(2-pyridylthio)-propionyl hydrazide. The heavy chain served to target botulinum neurotoxin-sensitive cells and promote internalization of the complex, while the dextran served as a platform to deliver model therapeutic molecules to the targeted neurons. Our results indicated that the drug delivery vehicle entry into neurons was via BoNT-A receptor mediated endocytosis. Once internalized into neurons, the drug carrier component separated from the drug delivery vehicle in a fashion similar to the separation of the BoNT-A light chain from the holotoxin. This drug delivery vehicle could be used to deliver BoNT-A antidotes into BoNT-A intoxicated cultured mouse spinal cord cells.An effective BoNT-based drug delivery vehicle can be used to directly deliver toxin inhibitors into intoxicated nerve terminal cytosol. This approach can potentially be utilized for targeted drug delivery to treat other neuronal and neuromuscular disorders. This report also provides new knowledge of endocytosis and exocytosis as well as of BoNT trafficking.
Project description:Botulinum toxins (BoNTs) are among the most toxic substances on earth, with serotype A toxin being the most toxic substance known. They are responsible for human botulism, a disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally through food poisoning or the colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. BoNT has been classified as a category A agent by the Centers for Disease Control, and it is one of six agents with the highest potential risk of use as bioweapons. Human or human-like neutralizing antibodies are thus required for the development of anti-botulinum toxin drugs to deal with this possibility. In this study, Macaca fascicularis was hyperimmunized with a recombinant light chain of BoNT/A. An immune phage display library was constructed and, after multistep panning, several scFv with nanomolar affinities that inhibited the endopeptidase activity of BoNT/A1 in vitro as scFv-Fc, with a molar ratio (ab binding site:toxin) of up to 1:1, were isolated. The neutralization of BoNT/A-induced paralysis by the SEM120-IID5, SEM120-IIIC1 and SEM120-IIIC4 antibodies was demonstrated in mouse phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm preparations with the holotoxin. The neutralization observed is the strongest ever measured in the phrenic nerve-hemidiaphragm assay for BoNT/A1 for a monoclonal antibody. Several scFv-Fc inhibiting the endopeptidase activity of botulinum neurotoxin A were isolated. For SEM120-IID5, SEM120-IIIC1, and SEM120-IIIC4, inhibitory effects in vitro and protection against the toxin ex vivo were observed. The human-like nature of these antibodies makes them promising lead candidates for further development of immunotherapeutics for this disease.
Project description:Botulism is a severe neurological disease caused by the complex family of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT). Based on the different serotypes known today, a classification of serotype variants termed subtypes has been proposed according to sequence diversity and immunological properties. However, the relevance of BoNT subtypes is currently not well understood. Here we describe the isolation of a novel Clostridium botulinum strain from a food-borne botulism outbreak near Chemnitz, Germany. Comparison of its botulinum neurotoxin gene sequence with published sequences identified it to be a novel subtype within the BoNT/A serotype designated BoNT/A8. The neurotoxin gene is located within an ha-orfX+ cluster and showed highest homology to BoNT/A1, A2, A5, and A6. Unexpectedly, we found an arginine insertion located in the HC domain of the heavy chain, which is unique compared to all other BoNT/A subtypes known so far. Functional characterization revealed that the binding characteristics to its main neuronal protein receptor SV2C seemed unaffected, whereas binding to membrane-incorporated gangliosides was reduced in comparison to BoNT/A1. Moreover, we found significantly lower enzymatic activity of the natural, full-length neurotoxin and the recombinant light chain of BoNT/A8 compared to BoNT/A1 in different endopeptidase assays. Both reduced ganglioside binding and enzymatic activity may contribute to the considerably lower biological activity of BoNT/A8 as measured in a mouse phrenic nerve hemidiaphragm assay. Despite its reduced activity the novel BoNT/A8 subtype caused severe botulism in a 63-year-old male. To our knowledge, this is the first description and a comprehensive characterization of a novel BoNT/A subtype which combines genetic information on the neurotoxin gene cluster with an in-depth functional analysis using different technical approaches. Our results show that subtyping of BoNT is highly relevant and that understanding of the detailed toxin function might pave the way for the development of novel therapeutics and tailor-made antitoxins.
Project description:Botulism is a potentially fatal paralytic disease caused by the action of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) on nerve cells. There are 7 known serotypes (A-G) of BoNT and up to 40 genetic variants. Clostridium botulinum strain IBCA10-7060 was recently reported to produce BoNT serotype B (BoNT/B) and a novel BoNT, designated as BoNT/H. The BoNT gene (bont) sequence of BoNT/H was compared to known bont sequences. Genetic analysis suggested that BoNT/H has a hybrid-like structure containing regions of similarity to the structures of BoNT/A1 and BoNT/F5. This novel BoNT was serologically characterized by the mouse neutralization assay and a neuronal cell-based assay. The toxic effects of this hybrid-like BoNT were completely eliminated by existing serotype A antitoxins, including those contained in multivalent therapeutic antitoxin products that are the mainstay of human botulism treatment.