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J Med Microbiol. 1997 Nov;46(11):953-8.

Clostridium difficile toxin A binding to human intestinal epithelial cells.

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Medical Research Centre, City Hospital, Nottingham.


Clostridium difficile radiolabelled toxin A ([3H]-toxin A) bound to human duodenal and colonic epithelial cells isolated from endoscopic biopsies. Binding was greater at 4 degrees C than 37 degrees C, consistent with the thermal binding characteristic of toxin A to a carbohydrate moiety. At 37 degrees C colonic cells bound significantly more [3H]-toxin A than duodenal cells. The amount of [3H]-toxin A binding varied considerably between individuals. [3H]-toxin A was displaced by unlabelled toxin A by 50% for duodenal cells and 70% for colonic cells with 94.3 nM unlabelled toxin A. Low non-displacable binding was observed in some samples at 4 degrees C and 37 degrees C, suggesting that these cells came from individuals incapable of specifically binding toxin. Pre-treating cells with alpha- or beta-galactosidases to cleave terminal alpha- and beta-galactose residues reduced [3H]-toxin A binding. There was also a reduction in [3H]-toxin A binding after heat treating cells, which is suggestive of protein binding. The reduction in binding varied between individuals. The reduction of [3H]-toxin A binding, after the removal of beta-linked galactose units, implicates these as components of the receptor and adds credence to the idea that the Lewis X, Y and I antigens may be involved in toxin A binding to human intestinal epithelial cells. However, because the Lewis antigens do not possess terminal alpha-galactose units, the reduction in binding after alpha-galactosidase treatment suggests that other receptors may be involved in toxin A binding to some human intestinal cells. These data are the first demonstration of direct toxin A binding to human intestinal epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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