Frizzled proteins are colonic epithelial receptors for C. difficile toxin B
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Clostridium difficile toxin B (TcdB) is a critical virulence factor that causes diseases associated with C. difficile infection. Here we carried out CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome-wide screens and identified the members of the Wnt receptor frizzled family (FZDs) as TcdB receptors. TcdB binds to the conserved Wnt-binding site known as the cysteine-rich domain (CRD), with the highest affinity towards FZD1, 2 and 7. TcdB competes with Wnt for binding to FZDs, and its binding blocks Wnt signalling. FZD1/2/7 triple-knockout cells are highly resistant to TcdB, and recombinant FZD2-CRD prevented TcdB binding to the colonic epithelium. Colonic organoids cultured from FZD7-knockout mice, combined with knockdown of FZD1 and 2, showed increased resistance to TcdB. The colonic epithelium in FZD7-knockout mice was less susceptible to TcdB-induced tissue damage in vivo. These findings establish FZDs as physiologically relevant receptors for TcdB in the colonic epithelium.
author list (cited authors)
Tao, L., Zhang, J., Meraner, P., Tovaglieri, A., Wu, X., Gerhard, R., ... Dong, M.