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Am J Physiol. 1994 Oct;267(4 Pt 1):G618-24.

Developmentally regulated Gb3 galactosyltransferase and alpha-galactosidase determine Shiga toxin receptors in intestine.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, New England Medical Center, Boston.


The receptor for Shiga toxin on rabbit intestinal microvillus membranes (MVMs) has been identified as a developmentally regulated glycolipid, globotriaosylceramide [galactose alpha 1-4 galactose beta 1-4 glucose beta 1-1 ceramide (Gb3)]. MVM Gb3 levels increase markedly in the third week of life, concomitant with fluid secretory responses to the toxin. To study mechanisms controlling developmental regulation of MVM Gb3, we measured the specific synthetic Gb3 galactosyltransferase and degradative alpha-galactosidase activities and subcellular distribution of Gb3 at various ages. Quantitative high-performance liquid chromatography demonstrated a similar developmental pattern in both microsomal and MVM Gb3, indicating that late expression of MVM Gb3 is not due to delayed migration of Gb3 from the microsomal to the MVM. The specific Gb3 galactosyltransferase activity increased with age, with a sharp increase seen at 18 days of age, whereas alpha-galactosidase activity followed an inverse pattern. Thus, regulation of both synthetic and degradative pathways for Gb3 appears to explain the observed changes in Gb3 levels with age. The nature of the signals for developmental regulation of Gb3 levels is unknown, as are the physiological consequences of altered MVM glycolipid composition other than mediating response to Shiga toxin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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