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Toxins 2017, 9(11), 338;

Shiga Toxin Glycosphingolipid Receptors in Human Caco-2 and HCT-8 Colon Epithelial Cell Lines

Institute for Hygiene, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF), University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
Institute of Food Chemistry, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gerald B. Koudelka and Steven A Mauro
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Shiga Toxins)
PDF [4094 KB, uploaded 25 October 2017]


Shiga toxins (Stxs) released by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) into the human colon are the causative agents for fatal outcome of EHEC infections. Colon epithelial Caco-2 and HCT-8 cells are widely used for investigating Stx-mediated intestinal cytotoxicity. Only limited data are available regarding precise structures of their Stx receptor glycosphingolipids (GSLs) globotriaosylceramide (Gb3Cer) and globotetraosylceramide (Gb4Cer), and lipid raft association. In this study we identified Gb3Cer and Gb4Cer lipoforms of serum-free cultivated Caco-2 and HCT-8 cells, chiefly harboring ceramide moieties composed of sphingosine (d18:1) and C16:0, C22:0 or C24:0/C24:1 fatty acid. The most significant difference between the two cell lines was the prevalence of Gb3Cer with C16 fatty acid in HCT-8 and Gb4Cer with C22–C24 fatty acids in Caco-2 cells. Lipid compositional analysis of detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs), which were used as lipid raft-equivalents, indicated slightly higher relative content of Stx receptor Gb3Cer in DRMs of HCT-8 cells when compared to Caco-2 cells. Cytotoxicity assays revealed substantial sensitivity towards Stx2a for both cell lines, evidencing little higher susceptibility of Caco-2 cells versus HCT-8 cells. Collectively, Caco-2 and HCT-8 cells express a plethora of different receptor lipoforms and are susceptible towards Stx2a exhibiting somewhat lower sensitivity when compared to Vero cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: Caco-2; colon epithelial cells; EHEC; glycolipids; HCT-8; receptor; Shiga toxin; Stx2a; Vero-B4 cells Caco-2; colon epithelial cells; EHEC; glycolipids; HCT-8; receptor; Shiga toxin; Stx2a; Vero-B4 cells

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Kouzel, I.U.; Pohlentz, G.; Schmitz, J.S.; Steil, D.; Humpf, H.-U.; Karch, H.; Müthing, J. Shiga Toxin Glycosphingolipid Receptors in Human Caco-2 and HCT-8 Colon Epithelial Cell Lines. Toxins 2017, 9, 338.

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