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Redefining cholesterol's role in the mechanism of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysins

By Kara S. Giddings, Arthur E. Johnson and Rodney K. Tweten


The cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) constitute a large family of pore-forming toxins that function exclusively on cholesterol-containing membranes. A detailed analysis of the various stages in the cytolytic mechanism of three members of the CDC family revealed that significant depletion of cholesterol from the erythrocyte membrane stalls these toxins in the prepore complex. Therefore, the depletion of membrane cholesterol prevents the insertion of the transmembrane β-barrel and pore formation. These unprecedented findings provide a paradigm for the involvement of cholesterol in the CDC cytolytic mechanism and that of other pore-forming toxins whose activity is enhanced by the presence of membrane cholesterol

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.2033520100
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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