C. Fiorentini, G. Arancia, A. Caprioli, V. Falbo, F. M. Ruggeri and G. Donelli. Cytoskeletal changes induced in HEp-2 cells by the cytotoxic necrotizing factor of Escherichia coli. Toxicon 26, 1047-1056, 1988.- The effect of the cytotoxic necrotizing factor of Escherichia coli on HEp-2 cells was studied by fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. This cytotoxin, known for inducing the formation of giant multinucleated cells in several cell lines, caused changes in actin and tubulin organization. The presence of membrane ruffles at the cell border and of numerous thick bundles of actin crossing the cell body, suggests that the factor promotes cell spreading; this probably interferes with cytokinesis, ultimately leading to the formation of very large flattened multinucleated cells. Moreover, the nuclear segmentation observed in treated cells seems to be associated with a rearrangement of actin in the perinuclear region and with the presence of tubulin bundles in proximity to nuclear clefts. Although the primary target is still unknown, these findings suggest that the cytoskeleton is affected accounting for the multinucleation process induced by the factor.
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