Cytotoxic Effects of the Clostridium difficile Toxins

  • M. Thelestam
  • E. Chaves-Olarte
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 250)


Clostridium difficile-induced antibiotic-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis are typical toxin diseases elicited by actions of the two major toxins A and B (TcdA, TcdB) in the intestine. TcdA and TcdB are cytotoxic to intestinal and other cells because they glucosylate small GTP-binding proteins. These GTPases are crucial proteins controlling the actin cytoskeleton (ACSK) and the molecular signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation and cell death. Besides the two “classic” toxins produced by most strains of C. difficile, certain strains produce variant toxins whose pathophysiological significance is still unclear (Kato et al. 1998; Rlpnik et al. 1998). The C. difficile toxins are prototypes of the family of so-called Large Clostridial cytoToxins (LCTs). The LCTs glucosylate a variety of small GTPases thereby inducing a collapse of the ACSK (Eichel-Streiber et al. 1996).


Dorsal Root Ganglion Fluid Secretion Lethal Toxin Cytotoxic Potency Mucosal Necrosis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Thelestam
    • 1
  • E. Chaves-Olarte
    • 1
  1. 1.Microbiology and Tumorbiology CenterKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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