• Clostridial neurotoxins;
  • SNAP-25;
  • SNAP-23;
  • Proteolysis;
  • Protease binding assay

Abstract : Tetanus toxin and the seven serologically distinct botulinal neurotoxins (BoNT/A to BoNT/G) abrogate synaptic transmission at nerve endings through the action of their light chains (L chains), which proteolytically cleave VAMP (vesicle-associated membrane protein)/synaptobrevin, SNAP-25 (synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa), or syntaxin. BoNT/C was reported to proteolyze both syntaxin and SNAP-25. Here, we demonstrate that cleavage of SNAP-25 occurs between Arg198 and Ala199, depends on the presence of regions Asn93 to Glu145 and Ile156 to Met202, and requires about 1,000-fold higher L chain concentrations in comparison with BoNT/A and BoNT/E. Analyses of the BoNT/A and BoNT/E cleavage sites revealed that changes in the carboxyl-terminal residues, in contrast with changes in the amino-terminal residues, drastically impair proteolysis. A proteolytically inactive BoNT/A L chain mutant failed to bind to VAMP/synaptobrevin and syntaxin, but formed a stable complex (KD = 1.9 × 10-7M) with SNAP-25. The minimal essential domain of SNAP-25 required for cleavage by BoNT/A involves the segment Met146-Gln197, and binding was optimal only with full-length SNAP-25. Proteolysis by BoNT/E required the presence of the domain Ile156-Asp186. Murine SNAP-23 was cleaved by BoNT/E and, to a reduced extent, by BoNT/A, whereas human SNAP-23 was resistant to all clostridial L chains. Lys185Asp or Pro182Arg mutations of human SNAP-23 induced susceptibility toward BoNT/E or toward both BoNT/A and BoNT/E, respectively.