Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Toxicon. 1989;27(11):1209-18.

Effects of Clostridium difficile toxins A and B on cytoskeleton organization in HEp-2 cells: a comparative morphological study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ultrastructures, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


A comparative study on the effects of toxin A and toxin B from Clostridium difficile on HEp-2 cells was carried out. Both toxins caused cell retraction and rounding and seemed to exert their effect on cell morphology via a rearrangement of actin and alpha-actinin microfilaments. Such a rearrangement occurred at an early stage, when no change in microtubular and cytokeratin systems was detectable. Nevertheless, several structural modifications accompanying the cytopathological process induced by toxins A and B appeared to be quite different. In particular, toxin B-treated cells showed an arborized phenotype as a result of cell retraction and rounding, whereas toxin A caused cell rounding without arborization. Moreover, nuclear polarization following disorganization of the microfilament system was only observed in toxin A-treated cells. The structural features distinguishing intoxication processes induced by the two toxins probably reflect a different mechanism of action and suggest the presence of a distinct subcellular component as a primary target for each toxin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk