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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 26;9(3):e93463. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093463. eCollection 2014.

Comparisons of native Shiga toxins (Stxs) type 1 and 2 with chimeric toxins indicate that the source of the binding subunit dictates degree of toxicity.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.

Abstract

Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing E. coli (STEC) cause food-borne outbreaks of hemorrhagic colitis. The main virulence factor expressed by STEC, Stx, is an AB5 toxin that has two antigenically distinct forms, Stx1a and Stx2a. Although Stx1a and Stx2a bind to the same receptor, globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), Stx2a is more potent than Stx1a in mice, whereas Stx1a is more cytotoxic than Stx2a in cell culture. In this study, we used chimeric toxins to ask what the relative contribution of individual Stx subunits is to the differential toxicity of Stx1a and Stx2a in vitro and in vivo. Chimeric stx1/stx2 operons were generated by PCR such that the coding regions for the A2 and B subunits of one toxin were combined with the coding region for the A1 subunit of the heterologous toxin. The toxicities of purified Stx1a, Stx2a, and the chimeric Stxs were determined on Vero and HCT-8 cell lines, while polarized HCT-8 cell monolayers grown on permeable supports were used to follow toxin translocation. In all in vitro assays, the activity of the chimeric toxin correlated with that of the parental toxin from which the B subunit originated. The origin of the native B subunit also dictated the 50% lethal dose of toxin after intraperitoneal intoxication of mice; however, the chimeric Stxs exhibited reduced oral toxicity and pH stability compared to Stx1a and Stx2a. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that the differential toxicity of the chimeric toxins for cells and mice is determined by the origin of the B subunit.

PMID:
24671194
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC3966898
Free PMC Article
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