Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC San Diego

Chaperone function of the botulinum neurotoxin protein translocating channel


Clostridial botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) induce neuroparalysis by arresting synaptic exocytosis. BoNT consists of three functional domains: protease, translocation and receptor binding, and is cleaved into two disulfide linked, polypeptide chains: Light chain (LC) protease and Heavy chain (HC) translocon and receptor binding. One of the most elusive and intriguing steps of the BoNT intoxication process is the translocation of the proteolytic LC through the BoNT protein-conducting channel of the HC, from the endosomal compartment to the cytosol. In this dissertation, we utilize single-particle electron microscopy to resolve the discrepancies in multi-domain arrangement between different isoforms of BoNT in an effort to visualize rearrangement of domains and conformational changes associated with the translocation process. We investigate the dynamics of protein- translocation focusing on the interactions between the HC channel/chaperone and its LC cargo. Single molecule translocation was monitored in real time using excised patches of neuronal cells. LC translocation requires translocation domain (TD) insertion in a receptor binding domain (RBD) dependent manner, coupled with LC unfolding and protein conduction through the TD channel. Translocation occurs as a series of progressive steps in an N- to C-terminus orientation; productive completion requires reduction of the disulfide bridge and proteolytic cleavage of the LC from the HC concurrent with LC refolding in the cytosol. The progressive, tight interplay between the individual domains inherent in the mechanism of BoNT intoxication resolve it as an elegant modular nanomachine

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View