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Liu, Xiaoye; Ding, Shuangyang; Shi, Peijie; Dietrich, Richard; Maertlbauer, Erwin; Zhu, Kui (2017): Non-hemolytic enterotoxin of Bacillus cereus induces apoptosis in Vero cells. In: Cellular Microbiology, Vol. 19, No. 4, e12684
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Bacillus cereus is an opportunistic pathogen that often causes foodborne infectious diseases and food poisoning. Non-hemolytic enterotoxin (Nhe) is the major toxin found in almost all enteropathogenic B. cereus and B. thuringiensis isolates. However, little is known about the cellular response after Nhe triggered pore formation on cell membrane. Here, we demonstrate that Nhe induced cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase and provoked apoptosis in Vero cells, most likely associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and death receptor pathways. The influx of extracellular calcium ions and increased level of reactive oxygen species in cytoplasm were sensed by apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and p38 MAPK. Extrinsic death receptor Fas could also promote the activation of p38 MAPK. Subsequently, ASK1 and p38 MAPK triggered downstream caspase-8 and 3 to initiate apoptosis. Our results clearly demonstrate that ASK1, and Fas-p38 MAPK-mediated caspase-8 dependent pathways are involved in apoptotic cell death provoked by the pore-forming enterotoxin Nhe.