Summary: type E toxin was purified from culture supernates and from cell extracts by two methods. The specific activity [2 x 10mouse LD (mg protein)] of the toxin purified from cell extract under slightly acidic conditions was lower than that [3 x 10LD (mg protein)] of the toxin purified from culture supernate under slightly alkaline conditions. Both toxin preparations were activated by trypsin treatment, but to different extents, the degree of activation of the toxin from cell extract being about 30-fold higher than that of the toxin from culture supernate. The two toxin preparations had the same electrophoretic mobility on SDS-polyacrylamide gels and antigenic specificity as revealed by agar gel double-immunodiffusion tests. The antigenic specificity of the two toxin preparations was unaltered by trypsin treatment. In SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, a single band of 144 000 was demonstrated before trypsin treatment and two bands of 100 000 and 55 000 appeared after trypsin treatment. The two toxin preparations were labelled with I and chymotryptic peptide maps were obtained before and after trypsin treatment. The two toxin preparations without trypsin treatment demonstrated many differences in their peptide maps, but the preparations after trypsin activation had similar peptide maps. These results indicate that the toxin obtained from culture fluid was a partially activated form, and that its molecular conformation was different from that of the toxin from cell extract. Differences in specific activity and activation ratio by trypsin treatment may be due to differences in the conformation of the toxin molecules.


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