Disulfide bond of Mycoplasma pneumoniae community-acquired respiratory distress syndrome toxin is essential to maintain the ADP-ribosylating and vacuolating activities

Sowmya Balasubramanian, Lavanya Pandranki, Suzanna Maupin, Kumaraguruparan Ramasamy, Alexander B. Taylor, Peter John Hart, Joel B. Baseman, Thirumalai R Kannan

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Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the leading cause of bacterial community-acquired pneumonia among hospitalised children in United States and worldwide. Community-acquired respiratory distress syndrome (CARDS) toxin is a key virulence determinant of M. pneumoniae. The N-terminus of CARDS toxin exhibits ADP-ribosyltransferase (ADPRT) activity, and the C-terminus possesses binding and vacuolating activities. Thiol-trapping experiments of wild-type (WT) and cysteine-to-serine-mutated CARDS toxins with alkylating agents identified disulfide bond formation at the amino terminal cysteine residues C230 and C247. Compared with WT and other mutant toxins, C247S was unstable and unusable for comparative studies. Although there were no significant variations in binding, entry, and retrograde trafficking patterns of WT and mutated toxins, C230S did not elicit vacuole formation in intoxicated cells. In addition, the ADPRT domain of C230S was more sensitive to all tested proteases when compared with WT toxin. Despite its in vitro ADPRT activity, the reduction of C230S CARDS toxin-mediated ADPRT activity-associated IL-1β production in U937 cells and the recovery of vacuolating activity in the protease-released carboxy region of C230S indicated that the disulfide bond was essential not only to maintain the conformational stability of CARDS toxin but also to properly execute its cytopathic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13032
JournalCellular Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • ADP-ribosylation
  • CARDS toxin
  • disulfide bond
  • mycoplasma
  • vacuolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology

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