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Cell Microbiol. 2009 May;11(5):780-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2009.01291.x. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Cyclophilin A facilitates translocation of the Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin across membranes of acidified endosomes into the cytosol of mammalian cells.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Ulm Medical Center, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, Ulm, Germany.


The binary Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin consists of the binding/translocation component C2IIa and the separate enzyme component C2I, which mono-ADP-ribosylates actin in eukaryotic cells. Pore formation of C2IIa in early endosomal membranes facilitates translocation of unfolded C2I into the cytosol. We discovered earlier that translocation of C2I depends on the activity of the host cell chaperone heat shock protein Hsp90. Here, we demonstrate that cyclosporin A, which inhibits the peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase activity of cyclophilins, inhibited intoxication of cells with C2 toxin and prevented uptake of C2I into the cytosol. Cyclosporin A blocked the pH-dependent translocation of C2I activity across membranes of intact cells and of partially purified early endosomes. In vitro, the addition of cytosol to C2 toxin-loaded endosomes induced translocation of C2I activity into the cytosol, which was prevented by pretreatment of the cytosol with an antibody against cyclophilin A. Pull-down experiments with lysates from C2 toxin-treated cells revealed specific binding of cyclophilin A to the N-terminal domain of C2I. In conclusion, our results suggest an essential role of cyclophilin A for translocation of C2I across endosomal membranes during the uptake of C2 toxin into mammalian cells.

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