The effect of Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin on multilamellar liposomes prepared from various phospholipids and cholesterol was investigated. The toxin induced carboxyfluorescein leakage from liposomes composed of the choline-containing phospholipids such as egg-yolk phosphatidylcholine and bovine brain sphingomyelin in a dose-dependent manner, but did not induce leakage from those liposomes composed of bovine brain phosphatidylethanolamine, egg-yolk phosphatidylserine or phosphatidylglycerol. The toxin-induced carboxyfluorescein leakage from egg-yolk phosphatidylcholine liposomes was increased by addition of divalent cations. The toxin induced carboxyfluorescein release from liposomes composed of phosphatidylcholine containing unsaturated fatty acyl residues or shorter chain length saturated fatty acyl residues (12 or 14 carbon atoms), but did not induce such release from liposomes composed of phosphatidylcholine containing saturated fatty acyl residues of between 16 and 20 carbon atoms. Furthermore, the toxin-induced carboxyfluorescein release decreased with increasing chain length of the acyl residues of phosphatidylcholine used. The toxin bound to liposomes composed of phospholipids which are hydrolyzed by the toxin, but did not bind to those composed of phospholipids which are not attacked by the toxin. The toxin-induced carboxyfluorescein release from liposomes composed of dipalmitoleoyl-L-α-phosphatidylcholine and cholesterol and the toxin binding to the liposomes decreased with decreasing cholesterol contents. These observations suggest that the specific binding site formed by the choline-containing phospholipids and cholesterol, and membrane fluidity in liposomes are essential for the membrane-damaging activity of alpha-toxin.
Nagahama, M., Michiue, K., & Sakurai, J. (1996). Membrane-damaging action of Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin on phospholipid liposomes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1280(1), 120–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-2736(95)00288-X