Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Microbiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A historical and proteomic analysis of botulinum neurotoxin type/G

Rebecca R Terilli123, Hercules Moura1, Adrian R Woolfitt1, Jon Rees1, David M Schieltz1 and John R Barr1*

  • * Corresponding author: John R Barr jbarr@cdc.gov

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Laboratory Sciences, 4770 Buford Hwy, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30341, USA

2 Association of Public Health Laboratories, 8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 700, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

3 Oak Ridge Institute for Scientific Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:232  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-232

Published: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Clostridium botulinum is the taxonomic designation for at least six diverse species that produce botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs). There are seven known serotypes of BoNTs (/A through/G), all of which are potent toxins classified as category A bioterrorism agents. BoNT/G is the least studied of the seven serotypes. In an effort to further characterize the holotoxin and neurotoxin-associated proteins (NAPs), we conducted an in silico and proteomic analysis of commercial BoNT/G complex. We describe the relative quantification of the proteins present in the/G complex and confirm our ability to detect the toxin activity in vitro. In addition, we review previous literature to provide a complete description of the BoNT/G complex.

Results

An in-depth comparison of protein sequences indicated that BoNT/G shares the most sequence similarity with the/B serotype. A temperature-modified Endopep-MS activity assay was successful in the detection of BoNT/G activity. Gel electrophoresis and in gel digestions, followed by MS/MS analysis of/G complex, revealed the presence of four proteins in the complexes: neurotoxin (BoNT) and three NAPs--nontoxic-nonhemagglutinin (NTNH) and two hemagglutinins (HA70 and HA17). Rapid high-temperature in-solution tryptic digestions, coupled with MS/MS analysis, generated higher than previously reported sequence coverages for all proteins associated with the complex: BoNT 66%, NTNH 57%, HA70 91%, and HA17 99%. Label-free relative quantification determined that the complex contains 30% BoNT, 38% NTNH, 28% HA70, and 4% HA17 by weight comparison and 17% BoNT, 23% NTNH, 42% HA70, and 17% HA17 by molecular comparison.

Conclusions

The in silico protein sequence comparisons established that the/G complex is phenetically related to the other six serotypes of C. botulinum. Proteomic analyses and Endopep-MS confirmed the presence of BoNT and NAPs, along with the activity of the commercial/G complex. The use of data-independent MSE data analysis, coupled to label-free quantification software, suggested that the weight ratio BoNT:NAPs is 1:3, whereas the molar ratio of BoNT:NTNH:HA70:HA17 is 1:1:2:1, within the BoNT/G progenitor toxin.