Specificity of botulinum protease for human VAMP family proteins

Hideyuki Yamamoto, Tomoaki Ida, Hiroyasu Tsutsuki, Masatoshi Mori, Tomoko Matsumoto, Tomoko Kohda, Masafumi Mukamoto, Naoki Goshima, Shunji Kozaki, Hideshi Ihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The botulinum neurotoxin light chain (BoNT-LC) is a zinc-dependent metalloprotease that cleaves neuronal SNARE proteins such as SNAP-25, VAMP2, and Syntaxin1. This cleavage interferes with the neurotransmitter release of peripheral neurons and results in flaccid paralysis. SNAP, VAMP, and Syntaxin are representative of large families of proteins that mediate most membrane fusion reactions, as well as both neuronal and non-neuronal exocytotic events in eukaryotic cells. Neuron-specific SNARE proteins, which are target substrates of BoNT, have been well studied; however, it is unclear whether other SNARE proteins are also proteolyzed by BoNT. Herein, we define the substrate specificity of BoNT-LC/B, /D, and /F towards recombinant human VAMP family proteins. We demonstrate that LC/B, /D, and /F are able to cleave VAMP1, 2, and 3, but no other VAMP family proteins. Kinetic analysis revealed that all LC have higher affinity and catalytic activity for the non-neuronal SNARE isoform VAMP3 than for the neuronal VAMP1 and 2 isoforms. LC/D in particular exhibited extremely low catalytic activity towards VAMP1 relative to other interactions, which we determined through point mutation analysis to be a result of the Ile present at residue 48 of VAMP1. We also identified the VAMP3 cleavage sites to be at the Gln 59-Phe 60 (LC/B), Lys 42-Leu 43 (LC/D), and Gln 41-Lys 42 (LC/F) peptide bonds, which correspond to those of VAMP1 or 2. Understanding the substrate specificity and kinetic characteristics of BoNT towards human SNARE proteins may aid in the development of novel therapeutic uses for BoNT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Botulinum neurotoxin light chain
  • Proteolysis
  • Substrate specificity
  • VAMP proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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