Engineering botulinum neurotoxin to extend therapeutic intervention

Sheng Chen, Joseph T. Barbieri

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Clostridium botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are effective therapeutics for a variety of neurological disorders, such as strabismus, blepharospam, hemificial spasm, and cervical dystonia, because of the toxin's tropism for neurons and specific cleavage of neuronal soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein-attachment protein receptors (SNARE) proteins. Modifying BoNT to bind nonneuronal cells has been attempted to extend therapeutic applications. However, prerequisite to develop nonneuronal therapies requires the retargeting the catalytic activity of BoNTs to nonneuronal SNARE isoforms. Here, we reported the engineering of a BoNT derivative that cleaves SNAP23, a nonneuronal SNARE protein. SNAP23 mediates vesicle-plasma membrane fusion processes, including secretion of airway mucus, antibody, insulin, gastric acids, and ions. This mutated BoNT/E light chain LC/E(K224D) showed extended substrate specificity to cleave SNAP23, and the natural substrate, SNAP25, but not SNAP29 or SNAP47. Upon direct protein delivery into cultured human epithelial cells, LC/E(K224D) cleaved endogenous SNAP23, which inhibited secretion of mucin and IL-8. These studies show the feasibility of genetically modifying LCs to target a nonneuronal SNARE protein that extends therapeutic potential for treatment of human hypersecretion diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9180-9184
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • SNAP23
  • SNAP25
  • SNARE proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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