binding to the enterocyte brush border and uptake by perturbation of the apical endocytic membrane traffic
Enterotoxins of Staphylococcus aureus are among the most common causes of food poisoning. Acting as superantigens they intoxicate the organism by causing a massive uncontrolled T cell activation that ultimately may lead to toxic shock and death. In contrast to our detailed knowledge regarding their interaction with the immune system, little is known about how they penetrate the epithelial barrier to gain access to their targets. We therefore studied the uptake of two staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs), SEA and SEB, using organ cultured porcine jejunal explants as model system. Attachment of both toxins to the villus surface was scarce and patchy compared with that of cholera toxin B (CTB). SEA and SEB also bound to microvillus membrane vesicles in vitro, but less efficiently than CTB, and the binding was sensitive to treatment with endoglycoceramidase II, indicating that a glycolipid, possibly digalactosylceramide, acts as cell surface receptor at the brush border. Both SEs partitioned poorly with detergent resistant membranes (DRMs) of the microvillus, suggesting a weak association with lipid raft microdomains. Where attachment occurred, cellular uptake of SEA and SEB was also observed. In enterocytes, constitutive apical endocytosis normally proceeds only to subapical early endosomes present in the actomyosin-rich "terminal web" region. But, like CTB, both SEA and SEB penetrated deep into the cytoplasm. In conclusion, the data show that after binding to the enterocyte brush border SEA and SEB perturb the apical membrane trafficking, enabling them to engage in transcytosis to reach their target cells in the subepithelial lamina propria.
Histochemistry and Cell Biology, 2013, Vol 139, Issue 4, p. 513-24