Adenylate cyclase toxin (ACT, CyaA) is one of the important virulence factors secreted by the whooping cough bacterium Bordetella pertussis
, and it is essential for the colonization of the human respiratory tract by this bacterium. Cytotoxicity by ACT results from the synergy between toxin’s two main activities, production of supraphysiological cAMP levels by its N-terminal adenylate cyclase domain (AC domain), and cell membrane permeabilization, induced by its C-terminal pore-forming domain (hemolysin domain), which debilitate the host defenses. In a previous study we discovered that purified ACT is endowed with intrinsic phospholipase A1 (PLA) activity and that Ser in position 606 of the ACT polypeptide is a catalytic site for such hydrolytic activity, as part of G-X-S-X-G catalytic motif. Recently these findings and our conclusions have been directly questioned by other authors who claim that ACT-PLA activity does not exist. Here we provide new data on ACT phospholipase A1 characteristics. Based on our results we reaffirm our previous conclusions that ACT is endowed with PLA activity; that our purified ACT preparations are devoid of any impurity with phospholipase A activity; that ACT-S606A is a PLA-inactive mutant and thus, that Ser606 is a catalytic site for the toxin hydrolytic activity on phospholipids, and that ACT-PLA activity is involved in AC translocation.
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