Transport of protein toxins into cells: pathways used by ricin, cholera toxin and Shiga toxin

FEBS Lett. 2002 Oct 2;529(1):49-53. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(02)03182-4.


Ricin, cholera, and Shiga toxin belong to a family of protein toxins that enter the cytosol to exert their action. Since all three toxins are routed from the cell surface through the Golgi apparatus and to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) before translocation to the cytosol, the toxins are used to study different endocytic pathways as well as the retrograde transport to the Golgi and the ER. The toxins can also be used as vectors to carry other proteins into the cells. Studies with protein toxins reveal that there are more pathways along the plasma membrane to ER route than originally believed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholera Toxin / metabolism*
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport
  • Ricin / metabolism*
  • Shiga Toxin / metabolism*


  • Shiga Toxin
  • Ricin
  • Cholera Toxin