Physical characterization of the pore forming cytolysine from Gardnerella vaginalis

O. Moran, O. Zegarra-Moran, C. Virginio, L. Gusmani, G. D. Rottini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cytolytic toxin (CTox) produced by Gardnerella vaginalis is able to form voltage-dependent cationic channels when incorporated in lipid membranes (Moran et al, 1991) FEBS Lett. 283, 317-320). Osmotic protection experiments show that toxin incorporated in human erythrocytes forms pores between 18 Å and 28 Å in diameter. A hypothesis of pore formation as a primary event to produce cytolysis is proposed. The CTox activity increases when cells are depolarized by increasing the extracellular K+ concentration, probably reflecting the voltage dependent character of CTox formed channels. The cytolytic effect of the toxin was prevented by low temperatures and was a function of the extracellular Ca2+ concentration, suggesting a Ca2+ influx as part of the lytic mechanism. Binding of CTox to erythrocytes was dependent on external Ca2+ and was less temperature-dependent. Dose-response analysis suggests cooperativity of the toxin for the lytic activity, although no direct evidence of oligomerization has been found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Cytolytic toxin
  • Gardnerella vaginalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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