Enhanced sensitivity to cholera toxin in female ADP-ribosylarginine hydrolase (ARH1)-deficient mice

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 30;13(11):e0207693. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207693. eCollection 2018.


Cholera toxin, an 84-kDa multimeric protein and a major virulence factor of Vibrio cholerae, uses the ADP-ribosyltransferase activity of its A subunit to intoxicate host cells. ADP-ribosylation is a posttranslational modification of proteins, in which the ADP-ribose moiety of NAD+ is transferred to an acceptor. In mammalian cells, ADP-ribosylation of acceptors appears to be reversible. ADP-ribosyltransferases (ARTs) catalyze the modification of acceptor proteins, and ADP-ribose-acceptor hydrolases (ARHs) cleave the ADP-ribose-acceptor bond. ARH1 specifically cleaves the ADP-ribose-arginine bond. We previously demonstrated a role for endogenous ARH1 in regulating the extent of cholera toxin-mediated fluid and electrolyte abnormalities in a mouse model of intoxication. Murine ARH1-knockout (KO) cells and ARH1-KO mice exhibited increased sensitivity to cholera toxin compared to their wild-type (WT) counterparts. In the current report, we examined the sensitivity to cholera toxin of male and female ARH1-KO and WT mice. Intestinal loops derived from female ARH1-KO mice when injected with cholera toxin showed increased fluid accumulation compared to male ARH1-KO mice. WT mice did not show gender differences in fluid accumulation, ADP-ribosylarginine content, and ADP-ribosyl Gαs levels. Injection of 8-Bromo-cAMP into the intestinal loops also increased fluid accumulation, however, there was no significant difference between female and male mice or in WT and KO mice. Female ARH1-KO mice showed greater amounts of ADP-ribosylated Gαs protein and increased ADP-ribosylarginine content both in whole intestine and in epithelial cells than did male ARH1-KO mice. These results demonstrate that female ARH1-KO mice are more sensitive to cholera toxin than male mice. Loss of ARH1 confers gender sensitivity to the effects of cholera toxin but not of cyclic AMP. These observations may in part explain the finding noted in some clinical reports of enhanced symptoms of cholera and/or diarrhea in women than men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Fluids / metabolism*
  • Cholera Toxin / metabolism*
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Knockout
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / deficiency*
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Vibrio cholerae / metabolism


  • Adenosine Diphosphate Ribose
  • Cholera Toxin
  • ADP-ribosylarginine
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases
  • ADP-ribosylarginine hydrolase
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gs

Grant support

This study was supported by the Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.