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NBME 22 Answers

nbme22/Block 2/Question#48

Clostridium perfringens-α toxin affects cells and ...

Splitting lecithin to phosphorylcholine and diglyceride

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submitted by adisdiadochokinetic(10),

The clostridium perfringens alpha toxin is a lecithinase which cleaves lecithin to phosphorylcholine and diglyceride. Essentially, alpha toxin mimics phospholipase C. This means it has a vaguely similar effect of the phospholipases seen in Bacillus Cereus and Listeria Monocytogenes. The end result of the toxin activation is activation of second messenger systems through diglyceride (AKA diacylglycerol), which activates several pathways, most notably in this case Arachidonic acid metabolism and IL-8, with the net effect of increased vascular permeability leading to edema.