Toxins that act on membranes without internalization

Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli elaborates families of low molecular weight heat-stable (ST-I, (porcine), ST-Ih (human), ST-2 (porcine)) as well as the heat-labile cholera-like toxins (LTs; see below). ST-I binds to its receptor - membrane-bound guanylate cyclase - which is then activated, thereby elevating cGMP levels; ST-2 (active only in weaned pigs) acts via a second messenger which is not cGMP, cAMP or Ca21. The result in each case is efflux of ions, and hence water, into the gut lumen.

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