Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Two specific membrane-bound aminopeptidase N isoforms from Aedes aegypti larvae serve as functional receptors for the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry4Ba toxin implicating counterpart specificity.

PMID 25871797


The interaction between Bacillus thuringiensis Cry toxins and their receptors on midgut cells of susceptible insect larvae is the critical determinant in toxin specificity. Besides GPI-linked alkaline phosphatase in Aedes aegypti mosquito-larval midguts, membrane-bound aminopeptidase N (AaeAPN) is widely thought to serve as a Cry4Ba receptor. Here, two full-length AaeAPN isoforms, AaeAPN2778 and AaeAPN2783, predicted to be GPI-linked were cloned and successfully expressed in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells as 112- and 107-kDa membrane-bound proteins, respectively. In the cytotoxicity assay, Sf9 cells expressing each of the two AaeAPN isoforms showed increased sensitivity to the Cry4Ba mosquito-active toxin. Double immunolocalization revealed specific binding of Cry4Ba to each individual AaeAPN expressed on the cell membrane surface. Sequence analysis and homology-based modeling placed these two AaeAPNs to the M1 aminopeptidase family as they showed similar four-domain structures, with the most conserved domain II being the catalytic component. Additionally, the most variable domain IV containing negatively charged surface patches observed only in dipteran APNs could be involved in insect specificity. Overall results demonstrated that these two membrane-bound APN isoforms were responsible for mediating Cry4Ba toxicity against AaeAPN-expressed Sf9 cells, suggesting their important role as functional receptors for the toxin counterpart in A. aegypti mosquito larvae.