Mapping the minimal contiguous gene segment that encodes functionally active Shiga-like toxin II. Academic Article uri icon


  • Shiga-like toxin type II (SLT-II) is one of two antigenically distinct cytotoxins produced by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli that are believed to play a central role in the pathogenesis of enterohemorrhagic E. coli-induced disease. SLT-II is a bipartite toxin with an enzymatically active A subunit that inhibits protein synthesis and an oligomeric B subunit that binds to the glycolipid globotriaosylceramide on eukaryotic cells. In this study, functional boundaries of the slt-II operon were mapped. Mutant proteins lacking the last four amino acids from the carboxy terminus of the 70-amino-acid mature SLT-II B polypeptide had no cytotoxic activity. However, when only two amino acids were removed from the carboxy terminus of the B subunit, the cytotoxic activity of the holotoxin was not altered drastically. Furthermore, a 21-amino-acid extension to the carboxy terminus of the SLT-II B polypeptide was tolerated with a minimum reduction in cytotoxic activity of the holotoxin. Deletion of the region coding for amino acids 3 through 18 of the 296-amino-acid mature SLT-II A polypeptide resulted in complete ablation of the cytotoxic activity of the holotoxin as well as abolition of the enzymatic activity of the A subunit. Thus, it appears that both 5'- and 3'-terminal coding sequences are essential for function of the slt-II operon.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Perera, L. P., Samuel, J. E., Holmes, R. K., & O'Brien, A. D.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Perera, LP||Samuel, JE||Holmes, RK||O'Brien, AD

publication date

  • March 1991