In Silico Prediction and Design of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Alpha-Hemolysin Generate a Soluble and Hemolytic Recombinant Toxin

Caetano, Bruna De Lucca, et al. “In silico prediction and design of uropathogenic Escherichia coli alpha-hemolysin generate a soluble and hemolytic recombinant toxin.” Microorganisms 10.1 (2022): 172.


The secretion of α-hemolysin by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is commonly associated with the severity of urinary tract infections, which makes it a predictor of poor prognosis among patients. Accordingly, this toxin has become a target for diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions. However, there are several obstacles associated with the process of α-hemolysin purification, therefore limiting its utilization in scientific investigations. In order to overcome the problems associated with α-hemolysin expression, after in silico prediction, a 20.48 kDa soluble α-hemolysin recombinant denoted rHlyA was constructed. This recombinant is composed by a 182 amino acid sequence localized in the aa542–723 region of the toxin molecule. The antigenic determinants of the rHlyA were estimated by bioinformatics analysis taking into consideration the tertiary form of the toxin, epitope analysis tools, and solubility inference. The results indicated that rHlyA has three antigenic domains localized in the aa555–565, aa600–610, and aa674–717 regions. Functional investigation of rHlyA demonstrated that it has hemolytic activity against sheep red cells, but no cytotoxic effect against epithelial bladder cells. In summary, the results obtained in this study indicate that rHlyA is a soluble recombinant protein that can be used as a tool in studies that aim to understand the mechanisms involved in the hemolytic and cytotoxic activities of α-hemolysin produced by UPEC. In addition, rHlyA can be applied to generate monoclonal and/or polyclonal antibodies that can be utilized in the development of diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions.