Immunobiologic and biochemical properties of mutants of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1

Debra L. Murray, G. Sridhar Prasad, Cathleen A. Earhart, Bettina A B Leonard, Barry N. Kreiswirth, Richard P. Novick, Douglas H. Ohlendorf, Patrick M. Schlievert

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Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a multisystem illness caused mainly by Staphylococcus aureus producing TSS toxin-1 (TSST-1). A variant of TSST-1 has been isolated from ovine mastitis S. aureus. This toxin, TSST-ovine (TSST-O) is only weakly T cell mitogenic, is nonpyrogenic, does not enhance endotoxin shock, and does not cause TSS in the miniosmotic pump model. The sequence of the ovine gene (tstO) differs from the TSST-1 gene (tstH) by 14 nucleotides that change seven amino acids in the mature protein of which two are in the C-terminal half. A gene fusion containing half of both tstH and tstO was made and cloned into S. aureus. The fusion protein contained the two C-terminal amino acid differences that are in TSST-O at residues 132 and 140. The fusion protein was not T cell mitogenic and did not elicit TSS in two rabbit models. Additional experiments used mutagenesis to change the lysine residue at position 132 of TSST-O to glutamate (TSST-OK132E), as exists in TSST-1, and to change the lysine residue of the human-ovine fusion at position 132 to glutamate (TSST-1I140T). Both mutants were pyrogenic, enhanced endotoxin shock, and caused TSS in the miniosmotic pump model. However, the proteins were only partially T cell mitogenic. The restoration of lethality of TSST-O and the human-ovine fusion by changing the lysine to glutamate, as exists in TSST-1, indicates that residue 132 is important in lethality. The failure to regenerate complete T cell mitogenicity of the same mutants indicates that residues 132 and 140 are important for that activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-95
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

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