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J Struct Biol. 2002 Aug;139(2):122-35.

Interaction of the Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) with cholesterol, some cholesterol esters, and cholesterol derivatives: a TEM study.

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Institute of Zoology, University of Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany.


The Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) 63-kDa monomer has been shown to interact in aqueous suspension with cholesterol microcystals to produce a ring/pore-like heptameric oligomer approximately 8 nm in outer diameter. Transmission electron microscopy data were produced from cholesterol samples adsorbed to carbon support films, spread across the holes of holey carbon films, and negatively stained with ammonium molybdate. The VCC oligomers initially attach to the edge of the stacked cholesterol bilayers and with increasing time cover the two planar surfaces. VCC oligomers are also released into solution, with some tendency to cluster, possibly via the hydrophobic membrane-spanning domain. At the air/water interface, the VCC oligomers are likely to be selectively oriented with the hydrophobic domain facing the air. Despite some molecular disorder/plasticity within the oligomers, multivariate statistical analysis and rotational self-correlation using IMAGIC-5 strongly suggest the presence of sevenfold rotational symmetry. To correlate the electron microscopy data with on-going biochemical and permeability studies using liposomes of varying lipid composition, the direct interaction of VCC with several cholesterol derivatives and other steroids has been examined. 19-Hydroxycholesterol and 7 beta-hydroxycholesterol both induce VCC oligomerization. beta-Estradiol, which does not possess an aliphatic side chain, also efficiently induces VCC oligomer formation, as does cholesteryl acetate. Cholesteryl stearate and oleate and the C22 (2-trifluoroacetyl)naphthyloxy analogue of cholesterol fail to induce VCC oligomerization, but binding of the monomer to the surface of these steroids does occur. Stigmasterol has little tendency to induce oligomer formation, and oligomers are largely confined to the edge of the bilayers; ergosterol has even less oligomerization ability. Attempts to solubilize and stabilize the VCC oligomers from cholesterol suspensions have been pursued using the neutral surfactant octylglucoside. Although individual solubilized oligomers have been defined which exhibit a characteristic cytolysin channel conformation in the side-on orientation, a tendency remains for the oligomers to cluster via their hydrophobic domains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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