Channels formed in phospholipid bilayer membranes by diphtheria, tetanus, botulinum and anthrax toxin

A. Finkelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Diphtheria, tetanus, botulinum, and anthrax toxin are multipartate toxins, one of the domains of which is (or is presumed to be) an enzyme. Cell intoxication requires that the enzymatic portion gain access to the cytosol via endocytosis into an acidic vesicle compartment of the cell. Translocation of the enzyme across the vesicular membrane is dependent on the low pH of the vesicle and involves another domain of the toxin; for each of these toxins, that domain is capable of forming channels in phospholipid bilayer membranes. These channels are large (> 12 Å diameter) and voltage-gated, and the pH conditions required for their formation in lipid bilayers are similar to those existing in acidic vesicles and required for cell intoxication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-190
Number of pages3
JournalJournal de Physiologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990



  • acidic pH
  • channel gating
  • protein translocation
  • voltage dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this