Assessment of protoxin composition of Bacillus thuringiensis strains by use of polyacrylamide gel block and mass spectrometry.

Research paper by Zujiao Z Fu, Yunjun Y Sun, Liqiu L Xia, Xuezhi X Ding, Xiangtao X Mo, Xiaohui X Li, Kexue K Huang, Youming Y Zhang

Indexed on: 09 May '08Published on: 09 May '08Published in: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Assessment of protoxin composition in Bacillus thuringiensis parasporal crystals is principally hampered by the fact that protoxins in a single strain usually possess high sequence homology. Therefore, new strategies towards the identification of protoxins have been developed. Here, we established a powerful method through embedding solubilized protoxins in a polyacrylamide gel block coupled to liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis of in-gel-generated peptides for protoxin identification. Our model study revealed that four protoxins (Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac and Cry2Aa) and six protoxins (Cry4Aa, Cry4Ba, Cry10Aa, Cry11Aa, Cyt1Aa, and Cyt2Ba) could be rapidly identified from B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD1 and subsp. israelensis 4Q2-72, respectively. The experimental results indicated that our method is a straightforward tool for analyzing protoxin expression profile in B. thuringiensis strains. Given its technical simplicity and sensitivity, our method might facilitate the present screening program for B. thuringiensis strains with new insecticidal properties.