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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2004 Sep 15;238(2):281-9.

Cholesterol and the activity of bacterial toxins.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ont. N2L 3G1, Canada.


Cholesterol may affect the activity of microbial toxins in a direct, specific way, or it may exert indirect effects because of its role in membrane fluidity, membrane line tension, and in the stabilization of rafts in the cytoplasmic membrane. The thiol-activated toxins of gram-positive bacteria, and the cytolysin of Vibrio cholerae are presented as examples of specific toxin-cholesterol interaction. Several mechanisms of indirect effects of cholesterol are discussed using examples such as Staphylococcus aureus alpha-hemolysin, aerolysin, and diphtheria toxin.

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