Clostridium perfringens Epsilon Toxin Binds to and Kills Primary Human Lymphocytes.

TitleClostridium perfringens Epsilon Toxin Binds to and Kills Primary Human Lymphocytes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsShetty SV, Mazzucco MR, Winokur P, Haigh SV, Rumah KRashid, Fischetti VA, Vartanian T, Linden JR
JournalToxins (Basel)
Date Published2023 Jun 29
KeywordsBacterial Toxins, Central Nervous System, Clostridium perfringens, Humans, Lymphocytes, Multiple Sclerosis

Clostridium perfringens epsilon toxin (ETX) is the third most lethal bacterial toxin and has been suggested to be an environmental trigger of multiple sclerosis, an immune-mediated disease of the human central nervous system. However, ETX cytotoxicity on primary human cells has not been investigated. In this article, we demonstrate that ETX preferentially binds to and kills human lymphocytes expressing increased levels of the myelin and lymphocyte protein MAL. Using flow cytometry, ETX binding was determined to be time and dose dependent and was highest for CD4+ cells, followed by CD8+ and then CD19+ cells. Similar results were seen with ETX-induced cytotoxicity. To determine if ETX preference for CD4+ cells was related to MAL expression, MAL gene expression was determined by RT-qPCR. CD4+ cells had the highest amount of Mal gene expression followed by CD8+ and CD19+ cells. These data indicate that primary human cells are susceptible to ETX and support the hypothesis that MAL is a main receptor for ETX. Interestingly, ETX bindings to human lymphocytes suggest that ETX may influence immune response in multiple sclerosis.

Alternate JournalToxins (Basel)
PubMed ID37505692
PubMed Central IDPMC10467094