Potency of the mosquitocidal Cry46Ab toxin produced using a 4AaCter-tag, which facilitates formation of protein inclusion bodies in Escherichia coli
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A Cry46Ab toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis strain TK-E6 shows mosquitocidal activity against Culex pipiens pallens Coquillett (Diptera: Culicidae) larvae as well as preferential cytotoxicity against human cancer cells. In B. thuringiensis cells, Cry46Ab is produced and accumulates as a protein crystal that is processed into the active 29-kDa toxin upon solubilization in the alkaline environment of the insect midgut. The Cry46Ab protoxin is 30 kDa, and is therefore thought to require an accessory protein such as P20 and/or ORF2 for efficient crystal formation. In the present study, the potency of the 4AaCter-tag was investigated for the production of alkali-soluble inclusion bodies of recombinant Cry46Ab in Escherichia coli. The 4AaCter-tag is a polypeptide derived from the C-terminal region of the B. thuringiensis Cry4Aa toxin and facilitates the formation of alkali-soluble protein inclusion bodies in E. coli. Fusion with the 4AaCter-tag enhanced both Cry46Ab production and the formation of Cry46Ab inclusion bodies. In addition, upon optimization of protein expression procedures, the Cry46Ab–4AaCter inclusion bodies showed mosquitocidal activity and stability in aqueous environments comparable to Cry46Ab without the 4AaCter-tag. Our study suggests that use of the 4AaCter-tag is a straightforward approach for preparing formulations of smaller-sized Cry toxins such as Cry46Ab in E. coli.
KeywordsBacillus thuringiensis Mosquitocidal Cry46Ab toxin 4AaCter-tag Formation of protein inclusion Escherichia coli
Culex pipiens eggs were kindly supplied by the Research and Development Laboratory at Dainihon Jochugiku, Osaka, Japan. This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI (grant nos. JP24380034 and JP26660268).
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