Clostridium difficile binary toxin CDT induces clustering of the lipolysis-stimulated lipoprotein receptor into lipid rafts.

PMID 23631918


Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of antibiotics-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis. Hypervirulent C. difficile strains produce the binary actin-ADP-ribosylating toxin CDT (C. difficile transferase), in addition to the Rho-glucosylating toxins A and B. We recently identified the lipolysis-stimulated lipoprotein receptor (LSR) as the host receptor that mediates uptake of CDT into target cells. Here we investigated in H1-HeLa cells, which ectopically express LSR, the influence of CDT on the plasma membrane distribution of the receptor. We found by fluorescence microscopy that the binding component of CDT (CDTb) induces clustering of LSR into subcompartments of the plasma membrane. Detergent extraction of cells treated with CDTb, followed by sucrose gradient fractionation, uncovered accumulation of LSR in detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) that contained typical marker proteins of lipid rafts. Membrane cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin inhibited the association of LSR with DRMs upon addition of CDTb. The receptor-binding domain of CDTb also triggered LSR clustering into DRMs. CDTb-triggered clustering of LSR into DRMs could be confirmed in Caco-2 cells. Our data suggest that CDT forces its receptor to cluster into lipid rafts and that oligomerization of the B component might enhance but is not essential for this process. C. difficile binary toxin CDT is a member of the iota-like, actin ADP-ribosylating toxin family. The mechanism that mediates endocytic uptake of these toxins still remains elusive. Previous studies highlighted the importance of lipid rafts for oligomerization of the binding component of these toxins and for cell entry. Recently, the host cell receptor for this toxin family, namely, the lipolysis-stimulated lipoprotein receptor (LSR), has been identified. Our study now demonstrates that the binding component of CDT (CDTb) induces clustering of LSR into lipid rafts. Importantly, LSR clustering is efficiently induced also by the receptor-binding domain of CDTb, suggesting that oligomerization of the B component of CDT is not the main trigger of this process. The current work extends our knowledge on the cooperative play between iota-like toxins and their receptor.