Cholera toxin inhibits SNX27-retromer-mediated delivery of cargo proteins to the plasma membrane

Varsha Singh, Jianbo Yang, Jianyi Yin, Robert Cole, Ming Tse, Diego E. Berman, Scott A. Small, Gregory Petsko, Mark Donowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Cholera toxin (CT) causes severe diarrhea by increasing intracellular cAMP leading to a PKA-dependent increase in Cl- secretion through CFTR and decreased Na+ absorption through inhibition of Na+/H+ exchanger 3 (NHE3; also known as SLC9A3). The mechanism(s) by which CT inhibits NHE3 is partially understood, although no drug therapy has been successful at reversing this inhibition. We now describe that CT phosphorylates an amino acid in the PDZ domain of SNX27, which inhibits SNX27-mediated trafficking of NHE3 from the early endosomes to the plasma membrane (PM), and contributes to reduced basal NHE3 activity through a mechanism that involves reduced PM expression and reduced endocytic recycling. Importantly, mutagenesis studies (Ser to Asp) showed that the effect of this phosphorylation of SNX27 phenocopies the effects seen upon loss of SNX27 function, affecting PM trafficking of cargo proteins that bind SNX27-retromer. Additionally, CT destabilizes retromer function by decreasing the amount of core retromer proteins. These effects of CT can be partially rescued by enhancing retromer stability by using 'pharmacological chaperones'.Moreover, pharmacological chaperones canbeused to increase basal and choleratoxin-inhibitedNHE3activity and fluid absorption by intestinal epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjcs.218610
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Apical trafficking
  • Cholera toxin
  • Early endosomes
  • Exocytosis
  • NHE3
  • PDZ
  • Retromer
  • SNX27
  • Secretory diarrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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