Structure of heptameric protective antigen bound to an anthrax toxin receptor: a role for receptor in pH-dependent pore formation.


After binding to cellular receptors and proteolytic activation, the protective antigen component of anthrax toxin forms a heptameric prepore. The prepore later undergoes pH-dependent conversion to a pore, mediating translocation of the edema and lethal factors to the cytosol. We describe structures of the prepore (3.6 A) and a prepore:receptor complex (4.3 A) that reveal the location of pore-forming loops and an unexpected interaction of the receptor with the pore-forming domain. Lower pH is required for prepore-to-pore conversion in the presence of the receptor, indicating that this interaction regulates pH-dependent pore formation. We present an example of a receptor negatively regulating pH-dependent membrane insertion.