Cytolethal distending toxin demonstrates genotoxic activity in a yeast model

D. C. Hassane, R. B. Lee, M. D. Mendenhall, C. L. Pickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs) are multisubunit proteins produced by a variety of bacterial pathogens that cause enlargement, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in mammalian cells. While their function remains uncertain, recent studies suggest that they can act as intracellular DNases in mammalian cells. Here we establish a novel yeast model for understanding CDT-associated disease. Expression of the CdtB subunit in yeast causes a G2/M arrest, as seen in mammalian cells. CdtB toxicity is not circumvented in yeast genetically altered to lack DNA damage checkpoint control or that constitutively promote cell cycle progression via mutant Cdk1, because CdtB causes a permanent type of damage that results in loss of viability. Finally, we establish that CDTs are likely to be potent genotoxins, as indicated by in vivo degradation of chromosomal DNA associated with expression of CdtB - suggesting that the varied distribution of CDT in bacteria implicates many human pathogens as possessors of genotoxic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5752-5759
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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