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Vip3Aa protein is produced by Bacillus thuringiensis during vegetative growth and displays high toxicity against a wide range of lepidopteran insect larvae such as Spodoptera exigua and Spodoptera frugiperda, both important insect pests worldwide. Vip3Aa protein is synthesized as a protoxin (proVip3Aa) and becomes activated by digestion with either trypsin or insect gut proteases. The activated Vip3Aa protein (actVip3Aa) binds to a specific receptor in the brush border epithelial midgut cells, causing cell death via apoptosis, possibly induced by its pore-forming activity. Here we investigated the actVip3Aa intracellular localization to explain the molecular mechanism leading to the cytotoxicity of Vip3Aa toxin. The Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cell line was incubated with fluorescently labeled Vip3Aa, namely Alexa488-actVip3Aa, and the intracellular localization was analyzed through a laser scanning confocal microscope. The Alexa488-actVip3Aa was internalized into the Sf9 cells. Immunofluorescence detection demonstrated that Alexa488-actVip3Aa did not colocalize with early endosomes which is usually implicated in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, suggesting that the actVip3Aa does not use clathrin-dependent endocytosis to transport into the cytosol. Intracellular visualization also shows that actVip3Aa does not directly target to mitochondria upon entry into the cytosol. Following internalization, actVip3Aa causes cell division disruption that subsequently could trigger cell death via apoptosis. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Supanee Nimsanor, Monrudee Srisaisup, Pasin Jammor, Boonhiang Promdonkoy, Panadda Boonserm. Intracellular localization and cytotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis Vip3Aa against Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells. Journal of invertebrate pathology. 2020 Mar;171:107340

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PMID: 32044359

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