Ganglioside GM1 levels are a determinant of the extent of caveolae/raft-dependent endocytosis of cholera toxin to the Golgi apparatus.J Cell Sci. 2004 Mar 15; 117(Pt 8):1421-30.JC
Cholera toxin is associated with caveolae and raft domains in various cell types and previous studies have shown that cholera toxin can be internalized by caveolae/raft-dependent endocytosis as well as by other pathways. We undertook the study of cholera toxin endocytosis in CaCo-2 and HeLa cells. CaCo-2 cells do not express detectable levels of caveolin and, relative to HeLa cells, also present significantly reduced expression of ganglioside GM1, the cholera toxin receptor, that remains Triton X-100 insoluble. Amongst the HeLa cell population, caveolin expression is constant, however, GM1 expression is highly variable. Cholera toxin is internalized to the Golgi apparatus via a caveolae/raft-dependent pathway sensitive to methyl-beta-cyclodextrin and genistein in high-GM1-expressing HeLa cells but not in low-GM1 HeLa cells or in CaCo-2 cells. Limited cholera toxin endocytosis to endosomes sensitive to neither methyl-beta-cyclodextrin nor genistein is also observed in all cells and corresponds to a non-caveolae/raft endocytic pathway. Increasing cell-associated GM1 by adding GM1 to the cell media of both HeLa and CaCo-2 cells selectively enhances the methyl-beta-cyclodextrin-, genistein-sensitive delivery of cholera toxin to the Golgi apparatus but not to endosomes. GM1 expression levels are therefore a selective determinant of caveolae/raft-dependent endocytosis of cholera toxin to the Golgi apparatus and variable expression of GM1 between cells can impact on the endocytosis and choice of pathway followed by cholera toxin.