The base and root of domain II loops of cry toxins contribute to binding to Bombyx mori ABC transporter C2.
Little information is available regarding the region of Cry toxins involved in binding to their major receptors, the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. We analyzed which Cry1Aa amino acid residues contribute to binding to Bombyx mori ABC transporter C2 (BmABCC2). Several two oxidized double-cysteine substitution mutant toxins were made. In these, two amino acids at distant positions on toxin loop α8 and loop 2 or loop 2 and loop 3 were substituted with cysteine residues and crosslinked. These mutants exhibited a marked reduction in binding affinity to BmABCC2, suggesting that the binding site comprises complex cavities formed by loops α8, 2, and 3. Loop swapping between Cry1Aa and other BmABCC2-incompatible toxins indicated that loop 2 acts as a binding affinity-generating part of Cry1Aa toxin. Using single amino acid substitution mutants, the results of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis and response assays with BmABCC2-expressing Sf9 cells indicated that Y366, R367, R368, and L447 in the Cry1Aa root and base region of loops 2 and 3 play important roles in binding. Furthermore, SPR analyses of these mutants suggested that a two-state binding model fits best the data obtained. Moreover, complex cavities and the above-mentioned amino acid residues contribute to the generation of multiple binding points and high-affinity binding. Finally, we found that the binding site of B. mori cadherin-like protein consists of complex cavities comprising loops 1, 2, and 3, partially overlapping that of BmABCC2, suggesting that the loop region of Cry1Aa toxin acts as a promiscuous binding site.