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Binary Actin-ADP-Ribosylating Toxins and their Use as Molecular Trojan Horses for Drug Delivery into Eukaryotic Cells

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Binary bacterial toxins are unique AB-type toxins, composed of two non-linked proteins that act as a binding/translocation component and an enzyme component. All known actin-ADP-ribosylating toxins from clostridia possess this binary structure. This toxin family is comprised of the prototypical Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin, Clostridium perfringens iota toxin, Clostridium difficile CDT, and Clostridium spiroforme toxin. Once in the cytosol of host cells, these toxins transfer an ADP-ribose moiety from nicotinamideadenosine- dinucleotide onto G-actin that then leads to depolymerization of actin filaments.

In recent years much progress has been made towards understanding the cellular uptake mechanism of binary actin-ADP-ribosylating toxins, and in particular that of C2 toxin. Both components act in a precisely concerted manner to intoxicate eukaryotic cells. The binding/ translocation (B-) component forms a complex with the enzyme (A-) component and mediates toxin binding to a cell-surface receptor. Following receptor-mediated endocytosis, the enzyme component escapes from acidic endosomes into the cytosol. Acidification of endosomes triggers pore formation by the binding/translocation component in endosomal membranes and the enzyme component subsequently translocates through the pore. This step requires a host cell chaperone, Hsp90.

Due to their unique structure, binary toxins are naturally “tailor made” for transporting foreign proteins into the cytosol of host cells. Several highly specific and cell-permeable recombinant fusion proteins have been designed and successfully used in experimental cell research. This review will focus on the recent progress in studying binary actin ADP-ribosylating toxins as highly effective virulence factors and innovative tools for cell physiology as well as pharmacology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Ulm Medical Center, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-9081 Ulm, Germany.

Publication date: 01 February 2008

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