Diphtheria toxin:receptor interaction: Association, dissociation, and effect of pH

Joanna S. Brooke, Jeong Heon Cha, Leon Eidels

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Diphtheria toxin (DT) binds to a specific heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) precursor that is expressed in DT-sensitive cells. DT binds to the cell-surface HB-EGF precursor with an apparent dissociation constant (K(D)) of ≃ 1 x 10-8-10-9 M at 4°C, a temperature at which toxin binds but is not internalized. The interaction of DT with the cell-surface receptor, however, may be influenced by other cell surface components. We used a biosensor method to measure the binding of DT to immobilized recombinant human HB-EGF (hHB-EGF) at 25°C with no other cellular components present. We observed that at pH 7.4, using this in vitro two component system, DT binds to hHB-EGF with an apparent K(D) of 2.7 x 10-8 M. We also observed that the dissociation of DT from hHB-EGF at pH values that approach those of the endosome occurs at a faster rate as the pH is decreased. These results suggest that the low pH of the endosome is sufficient to allow DT to dissociate from the HB-EGF precursor, prior to the translocation of the enzymatically active fragment of DT into the cytosol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jul 20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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