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Protein inclusions produced by the entomopathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus nematophilus subsp. nematophilus.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Medicine


The entomopathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus nematophilus subsp. nematophilus produces two types of intracellular inclusion bodies during in vitro culture. Large cigar-shaped inclusions (designated type 1) and smaller ovoid inclusions (designated type 2) were purified from cell lysates, using differential centrifugation in discontinuous glycerol gradients and isopycnic density gradient centrifugation in sodium diatrizoate. The inclusions, composed almost exclusively of protein, are readily soluble at high and low pH values and in the presence of cation chelators such as EDTA, anionic detergents (sodium dodecyl sulfate), or protein denaturants (urea, NaBr). Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of purified inclusions revealed a single 26-kilodalton protein (IP-1) in type 1 inclusions and a 22-kilodalton protein (IP-2) in type 2 inclusions. Analysis of these proteins by isoelectric focusing in the presence of 8 M urea showed that IP-1 is acidic and IP-2 is neutral. Furthermore, each protein occurred in multiple forms differing slightly in isoelectric point. Other variations in peptides released by trypsin digestion, immunological properties, and amino acid composition revealed significant structural differences between IP-1 and IP-2. Kinetic studies using light microscopy, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and immunoblotting procedures showed that inclusion protein synthesis occurs only during the second half of exponential culture growth. Synthesis of inclusion proteins and their aggregation to form inclusions occurred concurrently. Possible functions for these abundant proteins are discussed.

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