Unique substrate recognition mechanism of the botulinum neurotoxin D light chain

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27881-27887
Journal / PublicationJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
Online published19 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


Botulinum neurotoxins are the most potent protein toxins in nature. Despite the potential to block neurotransmitter release at the neuromuscular junction and cause human botulism, they are widely used in protein therapies. Among the seven botulinum neurotoxin serotypes, mechanisms of substrate recognition and specificity are known to a certain extent in the A, B, E, and F light chains, but not in the D light chain (LC/D). In this study, we addressed the unique substrate recognition mechanism of LC/D and showed that this serotype underwent hydrophobic interactions with VAMP-2 at its V1 motif. The LC/D B3, B4, and B5 binding sites specifically recognize the hydrophobic residues in the V1 motif of VAMP-2. Interestingly, we identified a novel dual recognition mechanism employed by LC/D in recognition of VAMP-2 sites at both the active site and distal binding sites, in which one site of VAMP-2 was recognized by two independent, but functionally similar LC/D sites that were complementary to each other.The dual recognition strategy increases the tolerance of LC/D to mutations and renders it a good candidate for engineering to improve its therapeutic properties. In conclusion, in this study, we identified a unique multistep substrate recognition mechanism by LC/D and provide insights for LC/D engineering and antitoxin development.