Mar 18, 2015

Atomic structure of anthrax protective antigen pore elucidates toxin translocation

Nature
Jiansen JiangZ Hong Zhou

Abstract

Anthrax toxin, comprising protective antigen, lethal factor, and oedema factor, is the major virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, an agent that causes high mortality in humans and animals. Protective antigen forms oligomeric prepores that undergo conversion to membrane-spanning pores by endosomal acidification, and these pores translocate the enzymes lethal factor and oedema factor into the cytosol of target cells. Protective antigen is not only a vaccine component and therapeutic target for anthrax infections but also an excellent model system for understanding the mechanism of protein translocation. On the basis of biochemical and electrophysiological results, researchers have proposed that a phi (Φ)-clamp composed of phenylalanine (Phe)427 residues of protective antigen catalyses protein translocation via a charge-state-dependent Brownian ratchet. Although atomic structures of protective antigen prepores are available, how protective antigen senses low pH, converts to active pore, and translocates lethal factor and oedema factor are not well defined without an atomic model of its pore. Here, by cryo-electron microscopy with direct electron counting, we determine the protective antigen pore structure at 2.9-Å resolution. T...Continue Reading

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References

Mentioned in this Paper

Anthrax protective antigen
Anthrax toxin edema factor
Enzymes, antithrombotic
Tang Hsi Ryu Syndrome
Structure-Activity Relationship
Toxin
Bacterial Toxins
Temnurus temnurus
Vaccines
Anthrax Vaccines

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