Campylobacter jejuni cytolethal distending toxin causes a G2-phase cell cycle block

Chris A. Whitehouse, Paul B. Balbo, Everett C. Pesci, Daniel L. Cottle, Peter M. Mirabito, Carol L. Pickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Cytolethal distending toxin (CDT) from the diarrheagenic bacterium Campylobacter jejuni was shown to cause a rapid and specific cell cycle arrest in HeLa and Caco-2 cells. Within 24 h of treatment, CDT caused HeLa cells to arrest with a 4N DNA content, indicative of cells in G2 or early M phase. Immunofluorescence studies indicated that the arrested cells had not entered M phase, since no evidence of tubulin reorganization or chromatin condensation was visible. CDT treatment was also shown to cause HeLa cells to accumulate the inactive, tyrosine-phosphorylated form of CDC2. These results indicated that CDT treatment results in a failure to activate CDC2, which leads to cell cycle arrest in G2. This mechanism of action is novel for a bacterial toxin and provides a model for the generation of diarrheal disease by C. jejuni and other diarrheagenic bacteria that produce CDT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1934-1940
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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