Epitopes of the cholera family of enterotoxins

Rev Infect Dis. May-Jun 1987;9(3):544-61. doi: 10.1093/clinids/9.3.544.


Hybridoma-derived monoclonal antibodies were raised to enterotoxins of the cholera family and to chimeric B-subunit proteins in which individual amino acid residues of a heat-labile, cholera-related enterotoxin from an Escherichia coli strain of porcine origin (P-LT) were substituted with corresponding residues from such an enterotoxin from an E. coli strain of human origin (H-LT). Single amino acid substitutions were found to have profound effects on the physicochemical behavior of the proteins and on their immunologic reactivity. With the use of enzyme-linked immunosorption assays (ELISAs) with and without the GM1 ganglioside receptor for these toxins, several distinct epitopes in GM1-binding domains were identified by different monoclonal antibodies. Polyclonal rabbit antisera to synthetic peptides of the cholera enterotoxin B subunit were cross-reactive to various degrees with the proteins in our library, which include two different cholera enterotoxins, two H-LTs, P-LT, and four chimeric proteins. Some of these reactions were blocked by GM1 ganglioside but not by the oligosaccharide of GM1, a finding suggesting that the peptides generated antibodies to epitopes near, but not in, a GM1-binding domain. A hypothetical evolutionary tree based on the reported amino acid sequences of the various enterotoxins is constructed. As additional enterotoxins are described, it will be interesting to determine if and where they fit in this scheme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Bacterial Toxins / immunology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cholera Toxin / analysis
  • Cholera Toxin / immunology*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Enterotoxins / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • G(M1) Ganglioside / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface*
  • Receptors, Immunologic


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Enterotoxins
  • Epitopes
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • ganglioside receptor
  • heat-labile enterotoxin, E coli
  • G(M1) Ganglioside
  • Cholera Toxin