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Exp Cell Res. 1991 Feb;192(2):389-95.

Disruption of the Golgi apparatus by brefeldin A inhibits the cytotoxicity of ricin, modeccin, and Pseudomonas toxin.

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Department of Microbiology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799.


We have studied the cytotoxicity of ricin in cells treated with brefeldin A (BFA), which dramatically disrupts the structure of the Golgi apparatus causing Golgi content and membrane to redistribute to the ER. BFA inhibits the cytotoxicity of ricin in Chinese hamster ovary, normal rat kidney, and Vero cells and abolishes the enhancement of ricin cytotoxicity by NH4Cl, nigericin, swainsonine, and tunicamycin or by a mutation in endosomal acidification. BFA protects cells from the cytotoxicities of modeccin and Pseudomonas toxin, but has no effect on the intoxication by diphtheria toxin. Pretreatment of BFA does not protect cells from ricin treatment in the absence of BFA. Our results suggest that ricin, modeccin, and Pseudomonas toxin share a common pathway of intracellular transport from endosomes to the Golgi region where they are released into the cytosol. In contrast, the lack of protection of Vero cells from diphtheria toxin by BFA indicates that diphtheria toxin is released from acidified endosomes without involving the Golgi region.

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