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Infect Immun. Apr 1991; 59(4): 1552–1557.
PMCID: PMC257875

Activation of particulate guanylate cyclase by Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin is regulated by adenine nucleotides.


Guanylate cyclase is regulated by adenine nucleotides in membranes of intestinal mucosal cells. Basal guanylate cyclase was activated about twofold by adenine nucleotides. Activation was specific for adenine, as compared with the pyrimidine nucleotides UTP and CTP. In addition, enzyme activation was obtained in the presence of saturating concentrations of GTP, the substrate for guanylate cyclase. The most potent adenine nucleotide was the nonhydrolyzable analog of ATP, adenosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate). Adenine nucleotide activation was specific for the particulate form of guanylate cyclase, as compared with the soluble form. Also, adenine nucleotides potentiated the activation of guanylate cyclase by the heat-stable enterotoxin produced by Escherichia coli. Indeed, enzyme activation by adenine nucleotides and toxin was greater than the sum of individual activations by these agents. Adenine nucleotides regulate guanylate cyclase by increasing the maximum velocity of the enzyme without altering its affinity for substrate or its cooperativity. In addition to stimulating guanylate cyclase, adenine nucleotides decreased the specific binding of the heat-stable enterotoxin to receptors in intestinal membranes. The coordinated regulation of the toxin-receptor interaction and guanylate cyclase activity by a process utilizing nonhydrolyzable analogs of a purine nucleotide is similar to the mechanisms involved in the hormone regulation of adenylate cyclase by guanine nucleotide-binding proteins. These data suggest that an adenine nucleotide-dependent protein may couple the toxin-receptor interaction to the regulation of particulate guanylate cyclase in intestinal membranes.

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Selected References

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