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Further characterization of Mycobacterium ulcerans toxin.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Mycobacterium ulcerans produces an exotoxin in culture which, when inoculated into guinea pig skin, causes inflammation, necrosis, edema, and other histopathological changes resembling those in infections of humans. The toxin was resistant to heat and to alkalies and was moderately acid labile. Toxic activity was destroyed by Pronase, phospholipase, lipase, amylase, and glucosidase but not by trypsin, collagenase, cellulase, lysozyme, hyaluronidase, or neuraminidase. Toxic activity was resistant to treatment with 2-mercaptoethanol, urea, guanidine hydrochloride, p-chloromercuribenzoate, ethylenediaminetetraacetate, and sodium deoxycholate but was destroyed by sodium m-periodate and sodium dodecyl sulfate. The toxin was precipitated by a wide range of ammonium sulfate concentrations. Extraction with chlorofrom-methanol or petroleum ether destroyed its activity. Isopycnic density gradient ultracentrifugation in KBr produced a high-density lipoprotein layer with a 24-fold increase in specific activity. The results indicate that this toxin is a high-molecular-weight phospholipoprotein-polysaccharide complex.

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