Functional Properties of Pro Region of Escherichia coil Heat-Stable Enterotoxin

Hiroyasu Yamanaka, Yasunori Fuke, Shunji Hitotsubashi, Yoshio Fujii, Okamoto Keinosuke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin Ip (STp) is synthesized as the 72-amino-acid residue precursor consisting of three regions: pre region (amino acid residues 1 to 19), pro region (amino acid residues 20 to 54), and mature ST (mST) region (amino acid residues 55 to 72). We examined the role of the pro sequence of STp in enterotoxigenicity of a strain by deleting the gene fragment encoding amino acids 22 to 57. This deletion caused a remarkable reduction of its enterotoxic activity of culture supernatant. In order to analyze the sequence responsible for the function of the pro region, two additional deletion mutants were made. The deletion of the sequence covering amino acids 29 to 38, which is conserved in all sequences of ST reported, brought about a significant reduction of enterotoxic activity but the deletion of the non-conserved sequence (amino acids 40 to 53) did not. This result shows that conserved sequence is mainly responsible for the function. Subsequently, to examine the mechanism of action of the pro region, plasmids carrying DNA sequences of hybrid proteins consisting of pre-pro-nuclease, pre-mST-nuclease, pre-pro-mST-nuclease and pre-pro-nuclease-mST were constructed. Amino acid sequence determination and SDS-polyacrylamide gel analysis revealed that these fusion proteins were cleaved between pre sequence and pro sequence during secretion and the cleaved fusion proteins were accumulated in periplasmic space. But the amount of hybrid protein accumulated in the periplasmic space varied among the strains. That is, the amount of the pre-pro-nuclease gene product that accumulated in the periplasmic space was the highest of all fusion gene products. These results indicate that the existence of the mST region strongly interferes with the translocation of the gene product into the periplasmic space and that the pro region functions to guide the mST region into the periplasmic space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Escherichia coli
  • Heat-stable enterotoxin
  • Pro sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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