Interaction of Cholera Toxin and Ganglioside GM1

  • Lars Svennerholm
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 71)


In 1958 Professor W.E. van Heyningen, Oxford, reported in a short note that a crude brain ganglioside mixture fixed tetanus toxin and that ganglioside was assumedly the specific toxin receptor substance. The prevailing view at that time was still that there was only one major brain ganglioside (Klenk, 1955), but we had for some years claimed the existence of more than one brain ganglioside and had elaborated column chromatographic methods for their separation (Svennerholm, 1956, 1957). When applying our chromatographic methods van Heyningen and Miller (1961) showed that the slow-migrating gangliosides with a higher sialic acid content, also had a larger texanus-toxin binding capacity than the fast-migrating gangliosides with a lower sialic acid content. Later on after the exact chemical structure of the major brain gangliosides had been revealed by Kuhn and Wiegandt (1963, 1964), Mellanby et al. (1968) showed that the tetanus toxin had the highest affinity for the two major brain gangliosides GD1b and GT1, which had two sialic acid residues attached to the internal galactose (Fig. 1). Nevertheless, no absolute specificity of these two gangliosides has been demonstrated, but several gangliosides can bind and inactivate tetanus toxin (van Heyningen, 1974).


Sialic Acid Cholera Toxin Muscular Layer Tetanus Toxin Sialic Acid Content 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Svennerholm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurochemistry, Psychiatric Research CentreUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden

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