Höhne-Zell, B. and Stecher, B. and Gratzl, Manfred
Functional characterization of the catalytic site of the tetanus toxin light chain using permeabilized adrenal chromaffin cells.
In: FEBS Letters, Vol. 336: pp. 175-180
The molecular events underlying the inhibition of exocytosis by tetanus toxin were investigated in permeabilized adrenal chromaffin cells. We found that replacement of amino acid residues within the putative zinc binding domain of the tetanus toxin light chain such as of histidine (position 233) by cysteine or valine, or of glutamate (position 234) by glutamine completely abolished the effect of the light chains on Ca2+ induced catecholamine release. Dipicolinic acid, a strong chelating agent for zinc, also prevented the effect of the tetanus toxin light chain. Zn2+ and, less potently Cu2+ and Ni2+, but not Cd2+ and Co2+, restored the activity of the neurotoxin. These data show that zinc and the putative zinc binding domain constitute the active site of the tetanus toxin light chain. Neither captopril, an inhibitor of synaptobrevin cleavage nor peptides spanning the site of synaptobrevins cleaved by the tetanus toxin in neurons, prevented the inhibition of Ca2+ induced catecholamine release by the tetanus toxin light chain. This suggests that synaptobrevins are not a major target of tetanus toxin in adrenal chromaffin cells.