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BT-R3 Mediates Killing of the Malaria Vector Anopheles Gambiae by Bacillus Thuringiensis

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Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), led by Dr. Lee Bulla, have demonstrated for the first time the selective cytotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis Cry4B toxin is mediated by BT-R3.

The Cry toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis exert their insecticidal activity by binding with high-affinity to their cognate cadherin receptors located on the surface of epithelial cells that line the midgut of susceptible insects. In the case of Anopheles gambiae, binding of the Cry4B toxin by BT-R3, in turn, triggers an internal signaling event that turns on a cell death pathway. The novelty of the research done by the UTD scientists is that they were able to establish the direct involvement of the BT-R3 receptor, cloned from Anopheles gambiae, in mediating toxicity of the Cry4B toxin in living cells. The research reported in this article in the July 2013 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine is a culmination of proteomics, genomics and bioinformatics strategies developed in the Bulla laboratory.

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