The conserved tyrosine residue 940 plays a key structural role in membrane interaction of Bordetella adenylate cyclase toxin

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 24;7(1):9330. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09575-6.


The adenylate cyclase toxin-hemolysin (CyaA, ACT or AC-Hly) translocates its adenylate cyclase (AC) enzyme domain into target cells in a step that depends on membrane cholesterol content. We thus examined what role in toxin activities is played by the five putative cholesterol recognition amino acid consensus (CRAC) motifs predicted in CyaA hemolysin moiety. CRAC-disrupting phenylalanine substitutions had no impact on toxin activities and these were not inhibited by free cholesterol, showing that the putative CRAC motifs are not involved in cholesterol binding. However, helix-breaking proline substitutions in these segments uncovered a structural role of the Y632, Y658, Y725 and Y738 residues in AC domain delivery and pore formation by CyaA. Substitutions of Y940 of the fifth motif, conserved in the acylated domains of related RTX toxins, did not impact on fatty-acylation of CyaA by CyaC and the CyaA-Y940F mutant was intact for toxin activities on erythrocytes and myeloid cells. However, the Y940A or Y940P substitutions disrupted the capacity of CyaA to insert into artificial lipid bilayers or target cell membranes. The aromatic ring of tyrosine 940 side chain thus appears to play a key structural role in molecular interactions that initiate CyaA penetration into target membranes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin / genetics
  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Tyrosine / genetics
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Adenylate Cyclase Toxin
  • Tyrosine
  • Cholesterol