C. Fiorentini, G. Arancia, S. Paradisi, G. Donelli, M. Giuliano, F. Piemonte and P. Mastrantonio. Effects of Clostridium difficile toxins A and B on cytoskeleton organization in HEp-2 cells: a comparative morphological study. Toxicon27, 1209-1218, 1989.-A comparative study on the effects of toxin A and toxin B from Clostridium difficile on HEp-2 cells was carried out. Both toxins caused cell retraction and rounding and seemed to exert their effect on cell morphology via a rearrangement of actin and α-actinin microfilaments. Such a rearrangement occurred at an early stage, when no change in microtubular and cytokeratin systems was detectable. Nevertheless, several structural modifications accompanying the cytopathological process induced by toxins A and B appeared to be quite different. In particular, toxin B-treated cells showed an arborized phenotype as a result of cell retraction and rounding, whereas toxin A caused cell rounding without arborization. Moreover, nuclear polarization following disorganization of the microfilament system was only observed in toxin A-treated cells. The structural features distinguishing intoxication processes induced by the two toxins probably reflect a different mechanism of action and suggest the presence of a distinct subcellular component as a primary target for each toxin.
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