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J Biol Chem. 1987 Jun 25;262(18):8834-9.

Glycolipid binding of purified and recombinant Escherichia coli produced verotoxin in vitro.


Escherichia coli verotoxin (also known as Shiga-like toxin) has been implicated in the aetiology of the hemolytic uremic syndrome and hemorrhagic colitis. The glycolipid binding specificity of verotoxin purified from E. coli H30 and verotoxin cloned from bacteriophage H19B has been examined. Verotoxin from both sources binds specifically to globotriosyl ceramide containing the carbohydrate sequence galactose alpha 1-4galactose beta 1-4glucose-ceramide. Removal of the terminal galactose or substitution with N-acetylgalactosamine in beta 1-3 linkage deletes toxin binding activity. A ceramide trihexoside species, consistent with a globotriosyl ceramide structure was shown to be the major verotoxin-binding glycolipid of cultured vero cells which are routinely used to measure the cytotoxicity of toxin samples.

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