The Binary (Bin) toxin from the entomopathogenic bacterium Lysinibacillus sphaericus acts on larvae of the culicid Culex quinquefasciatus through its binding to Cqm1, a midgut-bound ?-glucosidase. Specific binding by the BinB subunit to the Cqm1 receptor is essential for toxicity however the toxin is unable to bind to the Cqm1 ortholog from the refractory species Aedes aegypti (Aam1). Here, to investigate the molecular basis for the interaction between Cqm1 and BinB, recombinant Cqm1 and Aam1 were first expressed as soluble forms in Sf9 cells. The two proteins were found to display the same glycosilation patterns and BinB binding properties as the native ?-glucosidases. Chimeric constructs were then generated through the exchange of reciprocal fragments between the corresponding cqm1 and aam1 cDNAs. Subsequent expression and binding experiments defined a Cqm1 segment encompassing residues S129 and A312 as critical for the interaction with BinB. Through site directed mutagenesis experiments, replacing specific sets of residues from Cqm1 with those of Aam1, the 159GG160 doublet was required for this interaction. Molecular modeling mapped these residues to an exposed loop within the Cqm1's structure, compatible with a target site for BinB and providing a possible explanation for its lack of binding to Aam1.
Aedes aegypti larvae are refractory to the insecticidal binary (Bin) toxin from Bacillus sphaericus, which is not able to bind to its target tissue in the larval midgut. In contrast, Culex pipiens larvae are highly susceptible to that toxin, which targets its midgut brush border membranes (BBMF) through the binding of the BinB subunit to specific receptors, the Cpm1/Cqm1 membrane-bound ?-glucosidases. The identification of an Ae. aegypti gene encoding a Cpm1/Cqm1 orthologue, here named Aam1, led to the major goal of this study which was to investigate its expression. The aam1 transcript was found in larvae and adults from Ae. aegypti and a ?73-kDa protein was recognized by an anti-Cqm1 antibody in midgut BBMF. The Aam1 protein displayed ?-glucosidase activity and localized to the midgut epithelium, bound through a GPI anchor, similarly to Cpm1/Cqm1. However, no binding of native Aam1 was observed to the recombinant BinB subunit. Treatment of both proteins with endoglycosidase led to changes in the molecular weight of Aam1, but not Cqm1, implying that the former was glycosylated. The findings from this work rule out lack of receptors in larval stages, or its expression as soluble proteins, as a reason for Ae. aegypti refractoriness to Bin toxin.
Bin toxin from Bacillus sphaericus acts on Culex quinquefasciatus larvae by binding to Cqm1 midgut-bound receptors, and disruption of the cqm1 gene is the major cause of resistance. The goal of this work was to screen for a laboratory-selected resistance cqm1(REC) allele in field populations in the city of Recife, Brazil, and to describe other resistance-associated polymorphisms in the cqm1 gene. The cqm1(REC) allele was detected in the four nontreated populations surveyed at frequencies from 0.001 to 0.017, and sequence analysis from these samples revealed a novel resistant allele (cqm1(REC-D16)) displaying a 16-nucletotide (nt) deletion which is distinct from the 19-nt deletion associated with cqm1(REC). Yet a third resistant allele (cqm1(REC-D25)), displaying a 25-nt deletion, was identified in samples from a treated area exposed to B. sphaericus. A comparison of the three deletion events revealed that all are located within the same 208-nt region amplified during the screening procedure. They also introduce equivalent frameshifts in the sequence and generate the same premature stop codon, leading to putative transcripts encoding truncated proteins which are unable to locate to the midgut epithelium. The populations analyzed in this study contained a variety of alleles with mutations disrupting the function of the corresponding Bin toxin receptor. Their locations reveal a hot spot that can be exploited to assess the resistance risk through DNA screening.
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