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FEBS Lett. 2003 Oct 23;553(3):229-31.

Differential interaction of the two cholesterol-dependent, membrane-damaging toxins, streptolysin O and Vibrio cholerae cytolysin, with enantiomeric cholesterol.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Johannes Gutenberg University, D-55101 Mainz, Germany.


Membrane cholesterol is essential to the activity of at least two structurally unrelated families of bacterial pore-forming toxins, represented by streptolysin O (SLO) and Vibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC), respectively. Here, we report that SLO and VCC differ sharply in their interaction with liposome membranes containing enantiomeric cholesterol (ent-cholesterol). VCC had very low activity with ent-cholesterol, which is in line with a stereospecific mode of interaction of this toxin with cholesterol. In contrast, SLO was only slightly less active with ent-cholesterol than with cholesterol, suggesting a rather limited degree of structural specificity in the toxin-cholesterol interaction.

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