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Cell Microbiol. 2009 Feb;11(2):289-308. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01253.x. Epub 2008 Oct 30.

Differential entry of botulinum neurotoxin A into neuronal and intestinal cells.

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Unité des Bactéries anaérobies et Toxines, Institut Pasteur, 28 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris cedex, France.


Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are often acquired from the digestive tract and specifically target neuromuscular junctions where they cause an inhibition of acetylcholine release. A transcytotic mechanism has been evidenced in epithelial intestinal cells, which delivers whole BoNTs across the intestinal barrier, whereas BoNTs enter motoneurons through a pathway that permits the translocation of light chain into the cytosol. We used fluorescent BoNT/A C-terminal part of H chain (Hc) that mediates toxin binding to cell receptors to monitor toxin entry into NG108-15 neuronal cells as well as into Caco-2 and m-IC(cl2) intestinal cells. BoNT/A Hc receptors were found to be distributed in membrane structures closely associated to cholesterol-enriched microdomains, but distinct from detergent-resistant microdomains in both cell types. BoNT/A Hc was trapped into endocytic vesicles, which progressively migrated to a perinuclear area in NG108-15 cells, and in a more scattered manner in intestinal cells. In both cell types, BoNT/A Hc entered through a dynamin- and intersectin-dependent pathway, reached an early endosomal compartment labelled with early endosome antigen 1. In neuronal cells, BoNT/A Hc entered mainly via a clathrin-dependent pathway, in contrast to intestinal cells where it followed a Cdc42-dependent pathway, supporting a differential toxin routing in both cell types.

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