J Invertebr Pathol 2007 May 30;95(1):41-7. Epub 2006 Dec 30.
Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), Havana 10600, Cuba.
Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac toxin is 100 times less toxic than Cry1C to Mamestra brassicae. An R(423)S mutation abolishes Cry1Ac toxin proteolysis in M. brassicae gut juice but does not increase its toxicity to this insect. The CryAAC hybrid toxin (1Ac/1Ac/1Ca) is toxic to M. brassicae but is susceptible to gut protease digestion at the R(423) residue. Accordingly we have investigated the effect of the R(423)S mutation in CryAAC on its toxicity for M. brassicae and Pieris brassicae. Bioassays demonstrated that the R(423)S mutation slightly increased the toxicity of CryAAC for M. brassicae by having a significantly inhibitory effect on the growth of surviving larvae. The mutant hybrid was still highly toxic to P. brassicae. Features of CryAACR(423)S such as, (1) stability in M. brassicae gut juice and (2) crystal solubility were investigated. Computer simulations suggest that a possible major increase in flexibility in the CryAAC loop beta7/beta8 (G(391)-P(397)) caused by the R(423)S substitution could be a reason for the increase in M. brassicae toxicity.