Gene-trap mutagenesis identifies mammalian genes contributing to intoxication by Clostridium perfringens ε-toxin.

Ivie SE, Fennessey CM, Sheng J, Rubin DH, McClain MS
PLoS One. 2011 6 (3): e17787

PMID: 21412435 · PMCID: PMC3055893 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0017787

The Clostridium perfringens ε-toxin is an extremely potent toxin associated with lethal toxemias in domesticated ruminants and may be toxic to humans. Intoxication results in fluid accumulation in various tissues, most notably in the brain and kidneys. Previous studies suggest that the toxin is a pore-forming toxin, leading to dysregulated ion homeostasis and ultimately cell death. However, mammalian host factors that likely contribute to ε-toxin-induced cytotoxicity are poorly understood. A library of insertional mutant Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, which are highly susceptible to the lethal affects of ε-toxin, was used to select clones of cells resistant to ε-toxin-induced cytotoxicity. The genes mutated in 9 surviving resistant cell clones were identified. We focused additional experiments on one of the identified genes as a means of validating the experimental approach. Gene expression microarray analysis revealed that one of the identified genes, hepatitis A virus cellular receptor 1 (HAVCR1, KIM-1, TIM1), is more abundantly expressed in human kidney cell lines than it is expressed in human cells known to be resistant to ε-toxin. One human kidney cell line, ACHN, was found to be sensitive to the toxin and expresses a larger isoform of the HAVCR1 protein than the HAVCR1 protein expressed by other, toxin-resistant human kidney cell lines. RNA interference studies in MDCK and in ACHN cells confirmed that HAVCR1 contributes to ε-toxin-induced cytotoxicity. Additionally, ε-toxin was shown to bind to HAVCR1 in vitro. The results of this study indicate that HAVCR1 and the other genes identified through the use of gene-trap mutagenesis and RNA interference strategies represent important targets for investigation of the process by which ε-toxin induces cell death and new targets for potential therapeutic intervention.

MeSH Terms (16)

Alternative Splicing Animals Bacterial Toxins Cell Death Cell Line Dogs Gene Knockdown Techniques Genes Humans Mammals Membrane Proteins Mutagenesis, Insertional Protein Binding RNA, Small Interfering Sequence Alignment Transfection

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