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How botulism-causing toxin can enter circulation

Date:
May 11, 2010
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
New research helps explain how the toxic protein responsible for botulism can enter circulation from the digestive system.

New research in the Journal of Cell Biology helps explain how the toxic protein responsible for botulism can enter circulation from the digestive system.

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The study appears online May 10.

Botulism, a rare but serious paralytic illness, is caused by botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), an extremely toxic protein that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In food-borne botulism, the nontoxic components of BoNT -- including hemagglutinin (HA) -- protect the toxin from the low pH and enzymes encountered in the digestive tract. BoNT then passes through the intestinal epithelial barrier to enter circulation from the gut.

Although studies have examined how BoNT crosses the intestinal epithelial barrier, the mechanism by which it accomplishes this feat has remained a mystery. In this study, a team of Japanese researchers led by Yukako Fujinaga shows that HA plays a role. HA binds epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin), disrupting E-cadherin-mediated cell-to-cell adhesion and thereby disrupting the epithelial barrier.

Interestingly, the research demonstrates a species-specific interaction between HA and E-cadherin. Although HA binds human, bovine, and mouse E-cadherin, for instance, it does not bind rat or chicken.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yo Sugawara, Takuhiro Matsumura, Yuki Takegahara, Yingji Jin, Yoshikazu Tsukasaki, Masatoshi Takeichi, Yukako Fujinaga. Botulinum hemagglutinin disrupts the intercellular epithelial barrier by directly binding E-cadherin. Journal of Cell Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200910119

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "How botulism-causing toxin can enter circulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510121217.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2010, May 11). How botulism-causing toxin can enter circulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510121217.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "How botulism-causing toxin can enter circulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510121217.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

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