Gangliosides as Possible Membrane Receptors for Cholera Toxin

  • C. A. King
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 11)


The disease of cholera is caused by the action of an exotoxin released by the Vibrio cholerae in the lumen of the small intestine. The toxin causes an increase in the secretion of chloride into the gut lumen by the mucosal cells (5) — a process which is accompanied by the excessive outpouring of fluid which is characteristic of the disease. However, cholera toxin can also cause a variety of other biological reactions under laboratory conditions, the nature of the response depending on the cell type which is being challenged. Examples are increased lipolysis in fat cells (13), glycogenolysis in liver (12), steroidogenesis in adrenal (4) and increased capillary permeability in the skin (1). The latter response is the basis of a widely used assay for cholera toxin (1). All of these effects have been attributed to an elevation in the concentration of cyclic AMP in the cell, due to the activation of adenylate cyclase on the inner surface of the cell membrane (6, 7).


Sialic Acid Adenylate Cyclase Cholera Toxin Activate Adenylate Cyclase Sialic Acid Residue 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Sir William Dunn School of PathologyUniversity of OxfordUK

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