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J Gen Virol. 1991 Jan;72 ( Pt 1):111-5.

Influenza virus enhancement of membrane leakiness induced by staphylococcal alpha toxin, diphtheria toxin and streptolysin S.

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  • 1Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Birmingham, U.K.


Release of alpha-amino[14C]isobutyric acid from ferret Mpf cells was promoted by staphylococcal alpha toxin, diphtheria toxin and streptolysin S. This release was enhanced to a significant extent if the cells had been previously infected with influenza virus strain A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8, H1N1), although infection with virus alone did not increase the release of radiolabel as compared with that from untreated cells; inactivated virus had a similar enhancing action. The mechanism of enhancement is unclear but it occurs between 0.5 and 2h post-inoculation and viral membrane/endosome membrane fusion is essential. Endotoxin had no effect on membrane permeability, either alone or with PR8. The relevance of these in vitro observations to the previously observed enhancement of toxin lethality by influenza virus in vivo is discussed.

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