The leukotoxin produced by Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans has been implicated in the etiology of localized juvenile periodontitis. To initiate a genetic analysis into the role of this protein in disease, we have cloned its gene, lktA. We now present the complete nucleotide sequence of the lktA gene from A. actinomycetemcomitans. When the deduced amino acid sequence of the leukotoxin protein was compared with those of other proteins, it was found to be homologous to the leukotoxin from Pasteurella haemolytica and to the alpha-hemolysins from Escherichia coli and Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae. Each alignment showed at least 42% identity. As in the other organisms, the lktA gene of A. actinomycetemcomitans was linked to another gene, lktC, which is thought to be involved in the activation of the leukotoxin. The predicted LktC protein was related to the leukotoxin/hemolysin C proteins from the other bacteria, since they shared a minimum of 49% amino acid identity. Surprisingly, although actinobacillus species are more closely related to pasteurellae than to members of the family Enterobacteriaciae, LktA and LktC from A. actinomycetemcomitans shared significantly greater sequence identity with the E. coli alpha-hemolysin proteins than with the P. haemolytica leukotoxin proteins. Despite the overall homology to the other leukotoxin/hemolysin proteins, the LktA protein from A. actinomycetemcomitans has several unique properties. Most strikingly, it is a very basic protein with a calculated pI of 9.7; the other toxins have estimated pIs around 6.2. The unusual features of the A. actinomycetemcomitans protein are discussed in light of the different species and target-cell specificities of the hemolysins and the leukotoxins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases