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Zhu, Kui; Didier, Andrea; Dietrich, Richard; Heilkenbrinker, Uta; Waltenberger, Eva; Jessberger, Nadja; Märtlbauer, Erwin and Benz, Roland (2016): Formation of small transmembrane pores: An intermediate stage on the way to Bacillus cereus non-hemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) full pores in the absence of NheA. In: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol. 469, No. 3: pp. 613-618

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The non-hemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) of Bacillus cereus is a three-partite toxin formed of the components NheA, -B and -C. Pore formation and subsequent lysis of target cells caused by Nhe is an orchestrated process comprising three steps: (i) formation of NheB/C oligomers in solution, (ii) attachment of the oligomers to the cell membrane, (iii) binding of NheA to the oligomers. The present study aimed to characterize the properties of the NheB/C complex and the fate of the target cell upon binding. An enzyme immunoassay allowing kinetic measurements and surface plasmon resonance revealed the fast and high affinity formation of the NheB/C oligomers. The benefit of these complexes is a more stable cell binding as well as stronger and earlier cytotoxic effect. High molecular mass hetero-oligomers (620 kDa) probably consisting of one NheC and up to 15 NheB were detected by size-exclusion chromatography and on native PAGE immunoblots. Due to the NheBC application the morphology and membrane permeability of Vero cells is partly disturbed. Formation of stable transmembrane channels with a conductance of about 870 pS and a diameter of about 2 nm due to the application of NheBC could be demonstrated in lipid bilayer experiments. Thus, the NheBC complex itself has a tendency to increase the membrane permeability prior to the emergence of full pores containing also NheA. (C) 2015 ELSEVIER. All rights reserved.

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