Chapter 64 : Insecticidal Toxins

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is unique in that a substantial fraction (10 to 20%) of its total potential genetic information, including most protoxin genes, is present as plasmids. Since it is the synthesis of the protoxins and their deposition as inclusions that clearly differentiate these bacilli from a variety of other sporeformers, the properties of the protoxin genes, their regulation, and the mechanism of action of the 5-endotoxins is the focus of this chapter. The infestation of Japanese beetle grubs by is a classic example of bacilli producing insecticidal toxins. The most extensive studies have been done with subspecies that produce proteinaceous inclusions during sporulation. The inclusions are often bipyramidal, but some are cuboidal or multifaceted, and there is a wide variety of other morphologies. According to an analysis of flagellum antigens, includes at least 20 serotypes, and most isolates contain more than one protoxin gene, with a unique complement in each subspecies. More than 50 protoxin genes have been sequenced, and this information plus some toxicity data has provided a basis for the classification of these genes. The carboxyl halves of protoxins that are removed by gut proteases are extensively conserved among the CryI, CryIVA, and CryIVB protoxins. This portion of the molecule is probably important for the deposition of protoxins in inclusions and may also function to protect the toxin.

Citation: Aronson A. 1993. Insecticidal Toxins, p 953-963. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch64
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Figure 1

General structural features of protoxins as deduced from gene sequences and other related data. Protoxins designated CryIA through CryIG, CryIVA, and CryIVB contain 1,100 to 1,200 amino acids, and the toxin is processed from within the amino half as shown. The CryII, CryIII, and CryIVD protoxins are smaller, with processing to toxins as indicated (not known for CryIVD). Regions marked 1 through 5 are highly conserved among the CryI, CryIII, CryIVA, and CryIVB toxins and less so (primarily regions 1 and 2) for the CryII and CryIVD toxins. The carboxyl halves of the CryI, CryIVA, and CryIVB protoxins are also extensively conserved. A major difference is the deletion of 26 amino acids (26) in most of the CryIA(b) protoxins. Other portions of the toxins are more or less conserved within a particular class (i.e., those designated CryI or CryII, etc.) but not between these classes.

Citation: Aronson A. 1993. Insecticidal Toxins, p 953-963. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch64
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Figure 2

Schematic ribbon representation of the CryIIIA toxin ( ). The three domains include a seven-helix bundle (upper left), a three-sheet assembly (bottom right), and a sandwich (upper right).

Citation: Aronson A. 1993. Insecticidal Toxins, p 953-963. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch64
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Table 1

Properties of -endotoxin genes and their products

Citation: Aronson A. 1993. Insecticidal Toxins, p 953-963. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch64

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