Pneumolysin is a membrane-damaging toxin produced by Streptococcus pneumoniae. In order to understand fully the mode of action of this toxin, it is necessary to have an appreciation of the size, self-association behaviour and solution conformation of pneumolysin. A combination of analytical ultracentrifugation methodologies has shown that pneumolysin lacks self-association behaviour in solution and has provided a weight-average M(r) (M omega) of 52,000 +/- 2000, which was in agreement with that derived from the amino acid sequence. By determining a sedimentation coefficient (S20,w0) of 3.35 +/- 0.10 S, it was possible to suggest a model for the gross solution conformation of pneumolysin monomers. Spectroscopic methods provide additional secondary and tertiary structure information.
- © 1993 The Biochemical Society, London