Structural characterization and heterologous expression of a new cyt gene cloned from Bacillus thuringiensis
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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strains produce Cry (crystal) and Cyt (cytolytic) proteins belonging to the group of bacterial toxins known as pore-forming toxins (PFTs), which interact with midgut cells of target insects to create pores, disruption of ion homeostasis and eventual death. PFTs have synergistic insecticidal activities and have been used as biopesticides against agriculturally important insects. Identification of new Cyt proteins is important because of their specific toxicity towards hemipteran pests, against which the Cry proteins are not effective. We have structurally characterized a cyt (cyt1007) gene from an Indian Bt isolate SK-1007. The presence of a “Bacillus thuringiensis toxin” domain and maximum identity of 36% with Cyt2Ca in the deduced amino acid sequence indicated Cyt1007 protein to be a new member of Cyt family. Three dimensional (3D) modeling (PMDB ID: PM0081490) revealed that it adopts a typical ferredoxin-like fold, and is composed of a single domain of α/β architecture, in which a single β sheet is surrounded by two α helical layers. The putative lipid binding site and probable mode of action of Cyt1007 protein were predicted through comparative analysis with other Cyt toxins and their distant homologs Evf (Erwinia virulence factor) and VVA2 (Volvatoxin A2). Heterologous expression of cyt1007 gene as a 25 kDa protein in Escherichia coli was achieved at high levels in both soluble and insoluble fractions. Affinity chromatography-based purification yielded 83.6% purified Cyt1007 protein, which can be used for downstream applications for the investigation of its toxicity.
KeywordsCyt toxin cyt gene Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal crystal protein Heterologous expression Structural characterization
B.S.P. acknowledges University Grants Commission (UGC), Government of India for providing a junior research fellowship. We acknowledge the ICAR-National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology for providing the infrastructure and facilities for carrying out this study. Part of this work forms a part of the PhD thesis by B.S.P. submitted to the Post-Graduate School, ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, India.
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Conflict of interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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