2010 Volume 72 Issue 9 Pages 1251-1255
Clostridium botulinum produces a large toxin complex (L-TC) composed of neurotoxin (BoNT) and non-toxic proteins. In animal botulism, BoNT or L-TC is absorbed via the intestinal epithelium. To establish the cellular mechanisms of botulinum toxin absorption, we used cultured rat intestinal epithelial cells to test the binding and transport of serotype C1 BoNT and L-TC through the cell layers. BoNT and L-TC bound to and passed through the cell layers, with L-TC exhibiting larger binding and transport. Binding and transport of these toxins were inhibited by N-acetyl neuraminic acid or neuraminidase treatment of the cells. These results suggest that binding of serotype C1 BoNT and L-TC to sialic acid on the cells promoted their transport through intestinal epithelial cell layers.