Shiga toxin facilitates its retrograde transport by modifying microtubule dynamics

Heidi Hehnly, David Sheff, Mark Stamnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The bacterial exotoxin Shiga toxin is endocytosed by mammalian host cells and transported retrogradely through the secretory pathway before entering the cytosol. Shiga toxin also increases the levels of microfilaments and microtubules (MTs) upon binding to the cell surface. The purpose for this alteration in cytoskeletal dynamics is unknown. We have investigated whether Shiga toxin-induced changes in MT levels facilitate its intracellular transport. We have tested the effects of the Shiga toxin B subunit (STB) on MT-dependent and -independent transport steps. STB increases the rate of MT-dependent Golgi stack repositioning after nocodazole treatment. It also enhances the MT-dependent accumulation of transferrin in a perinuclear recycling compartment. By contrast, the rate of MT-independent transferrin recycling is not significantly different when STB is present. We found that STB normally requires MTs and dynein for its retrograde transport to the juxtanuclear Golgi complex and that STB increases MT assembly. Furthermore, we find that MT polymerization is limiting for STB transport in cells. These results show that STB-induced changes in cytoskeletal dynamics influence intracellular transport. We conclude that the increased rate of MT assembly upon Shiga toxin binding facilitates the retrograde transport of the toxin through the secretory pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4379-4389
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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