Citation

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Structure and activity of botulinum neurotoxin X

Martínez-Carranza, M;Škerlová, J;Lee, PG;Zhang, J;Burgin, D;Elliott, M;Philippe, J;Donald, S;Hornby, F;Henriksson, L;Masuyer, G;Beard, M;Dong, M;Stenmark, P;

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most potent toxins known and are used to treat an increasing number of medical disorders. All BoNTs are naturally co-expressed with a protective partner protein (NTNH) with which they form a 300 kDa complex, to resist acidic and proteolytic attack from the digestive tract. We have previously identified a new botulinum neurotoxin serotype, BoNT/X, that has unique and therapeutically attractive properties. We present the cryo-EM structure of the BoNT/X-NTNH/X complex at 3.1 Å resolution. Unexpectedly, the BoNT/X complex is stable and protease resistant at both neutral and acidic pH and disassembles only in alkaline conditions. Using the stabilizing effect of NTNH, we isolated BoNT/X and showed that it has very low potency both in vitro and in vivo . Given the high catalytic activity and translocation efficacy of BoNT/X, low activity of the full toxin is likely due to the receptor-binding domain, which presents weak ganglioside binding and exposed hydrophobic surfaces.