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Cell. 2000 Jan 21;100(2):265-76.

E. coli hemolysin E (HlyE, ClyA, SheA): X-ray crystal structure of the toxin and observation of membrane pores by electron microscopy.

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  • 1The Krebs Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, United Kingdom.


Hemolysin E (HlyE) is a novel pore-forming toxin of Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Shigella flexneri. Here we report the X-ray crystal structure of the water-soluble form of E. coli HlyE at 2.0 A resolution and the visualization of the lipid-associated form of the toxin in projection at low resolution by electron microscopy. The crystal structure reveals HlyE to be the first member of a new family of toxin structures, consisting of an elaborated helical bundle some 100 A long. The electron micrographs show how HlyE oligomerizes in the presence of lipid to form transmembrane pores. Taken together, the data from these two structural techniques allow us to propose a simple model for the structure of the pore and for membrane interaction.

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