The nonhemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) produced by Bacillus cereus is a pore-forming toxin consisting of three components, NheA, -B and -C. We have studied effects of Nhe on primate epithelial cells (Vero) and rodent pituitary cells (GH4) by measuring release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), K+ efflux and the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i). Plasma membrane channel events were monitored by patch-clamp recordings. Using strains of B. cereus lacking either NheA or -C, we examined the functional role of the various components. In both cell types, NheA + B + C induced release of LDH and K+ as well as Ca2+ influx. A specific monoclonal antibody against NheB abolished LDH release and elevation of [Ca2+]i. Exposure to NheA + B caused a similar K+ efflux and elevation of [Ca2+]i as NheA + B + C in GH4 cells, whereas in Vero cells the rate of K+ efflux was reduced by 50% and [Ca2+]i was unaffected. NheB + C had no effect on either cell type. Exposure to NheA + B + C induced large-conductance steps in both cell types, and similar channel insertions were observed in GH4 cells exposed to NheA + B. In Vero cells, NheA + B induced channels of much smaller conductance. NheB + C failed to insert membrane channels. The conductance of the large channels in GH4 cells was about 10 nS. This is the largest channel conductance reported in cell membranes under quasi-physiological conditions. In conclusion, NheA and NheB are necessary and sufficient for formation of large-conductance channels in GH4 cells, whereas in Vero cells such large-conductance channels are in addition dependent on NheC.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 7, 2010
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