Author(s): Mitchell MJ, Laughon BE, Lin S
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Abstract We describe a simplified procedure for purification of Clostridium difficile toxin B. In this procedure, cytotoxicity is associated with a single protein band with a molecular mass of 230 kilodaltons. We used direct fluorescent staining of actin filaments to study the effect of this toxin on cultured cells. Morphologic changes were preceded by a decrease in the number and length of stress fibers followed by their disappearance with condensation of cellular actin around the nucleus. We then showed that cells treated with either cytochalasin B or toxin B had a significant increase in the monomeric actin pool as quantitated by DNase I inhibition. In contrast to the cytochalasins, toxin B had no direct effect on the rate or extent of actin polymerization or network formation in vitro. Cytoplasmic extracts of toxin B-treated cells had a significantly lower level of modulating activity on actin assembly and interactions in vitro compared with extracts of untreated cells. These results suggest that the action of toxin B on cells is due to direct or indirect effects on cellular proteins involved in controlling the state of actin assembly in the cells.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System