Frizzled proteins are colonic epithelial receptors forC. difficiletoxin B

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Abstract

Clostridium difficiletoxin B (TcdB) is a critical virulence factor that causes diseases associated withC. difficileinfection. 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 damagein vivo. These findings establish FZDs as physiologically relevant receptors for TcdB in the colonic epithelium.

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