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Anthrax toxin-induced rupture of artificial lipid bilayer membranes

Nablo, BJ;Panchal, RG;Bavari, S;Nguyen, TL;Gussio, R;Ribot, W;Friedlander, A;Chabot, D;Reiner, JE;Robertson, JW;Balijepalli, A;Halverson, KM;Kasianowicz, JJ;

We demonstrate experimentally that anthrax toxin complexes rupture artificial lipid bilayer membranes when isolated from the blood of infected animals. When the solution pH is temporally acidified to mimic that process in endosomes, recombinant anthrax toxin forms an irreversibly bound complex, which also destabilizes membranes. The results suggest an alternative mechanism for the translocation of anthrax toxin into the cytoplasm.