The Role of Gangliosides in the Action of Cholera Toxin

  • W. E. van Heyningen
  • C. A. King
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 71)


Cholera toxin (choleragen, cholera exotoxin, cholera entero-exotoxin) is the toxin produced by Vibrio cholerae which is responsible for the increased secretion of chloride ions into the gut lumen resulting in the severe diarrhoea of cholera. The toxin (molecular weight 84,000 daltons) which is entirely protein in nature, consists of two types of subunit A and B (also referred to by Holmgren and Lonnroth (1975) as H and L subunits). The toxin has one copy of the A subunit (molecular weight about 28,000 daltons), and between 4 and 6 copies of the B subunit (each of molecular weight around 10,000 to 14,000 daltons). An aggregate of the 4 to 6 B subunits is known as choleragenoid (molecular weight 56,000 daltons), and this biologically inert “natural toxoid” can be isolated during the process of purification of cholera toxin from V. cholerae culture filtrates (Finkelstein and LoSpalluto 1970). Subunit A, which is connected to choleragenoid by only weak forces, can be dissociated from it by acid or by urea.


Adenylate Cyclase Cholera Toxin Activate Adenylate Cyclase Adrenal Cell Vibrio Cholerae 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. van Heyningen
    • 1
  • C. A. King
    • 1
  1. 1.Sir William Dunn School of PathologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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