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Cell. 1992 Jun 12;69(6):1051-61.

Expression cloning of a diphtheria toxin receptor: identity with a heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor precursor.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235.


A monkey cDNA (pDTS) encoding a diphtheria toxin (DT) sensitivity determinant was isolated by expression cloning in mouse L-M cells. Mouse cells are naturally resistant to DT, because they lack functional cell surface receptors for the toxin. Unlike wild-type L-M cells, pDTS-transfected mouse cells are extremely toxin sensitive and specifically bind radioiodinated DT. Intoxication of the transfected cells requires receptor-mediated endocytosis of the bound toxin. The cDNA is predicted to encode an integral membrane protein that is identical to the precursor of a heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor. The DT sensitivity protein is thus a growth factor precursor that DT exploits as a receptor.

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