Identification of Lysinibacillus sphaericus Binary toxin binding proteins in a malarial mosquito cell line by proteomics: A novel approach towards improving mosquito control

J Proteomics. 2020 Sep 15;227:103918. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2020.103918. Epub 2020 Jul 24.


Bacterial insecticidal proteins, such as the Bin toxin from Lysinibacillus sphaericus, could be used more extensively to control insecticide resistant mosquitoes. This study was aimed at identification of mosquito cell proteins binding Bin toxin. Results showed that purified toxin was toxic to Anopheles gambiae larvae and Ag55 cultured cells. Clathrin heavy chain (an endocytosis protein) and glycolytic enzymes such as pyruvate kinase, enolase and dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase were identified as binders of Bin toxin. The viability of Ag55 cells in the presence of endocytosis inhibitor, pitstop2, was significantly decreased upon Bin treatment, while the inhibitor chlorpromazine did not affect Bin toxicity. Bin toxin treatment decreased ATP production and mitochondrial respiration in Ag55 cells, whereas non-mitochondrial oxygen consumption significantly increased after Bin toxin treatment. These findings are steps towards understanding how Bin toxin kills mosquitoes. SIGNIFICANCE: Mosquitoes are vectors of pathogens causing human diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, zika virus and malaria. An insecticidal toxin from Lysinibacillus sphaericus called Binary, or Bin, toxin could be used more extensively to control insecticide resistant mosquitoes. Bin toxin enter cells in susceptible mosquitoes and induces apoptosis or autophagy. In the current research, we used the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae Ag55 cell line as a model. A proteomic-based approach identified proteins that interact with Bin toxin. Interacting proteins include clathrin heavy chain (endocytosis protein) and glycolysis enzymes such as pyruvate kinase, enolase and dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase. In Ag55 cell toxicity assays, an endocytosis inhibitor, pitstop2, increased Bin toxicity. Real time assays with a Seahorse™ flux analyzer showed that Bin significantly affects mitochondrial respiration, a result consistent with cell death via apoptosis or autophagy. These research findings add insights into how an unusual binary protein exploits cellular machinery to kill mosquitoes.

Keywords: Bacterial toxin; Clathrin heavy chain; Glycolysis; Malarial mosquito cell; Pitstop2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillaceae
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Line
  • Culex*
  • Humans
  • Larva
  • Malaria*
  • Mosquito Control
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Proteomics
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus*


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Carrier Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Lysinibacillus sphaericus