Summary: When baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells are allowed to spread on fibronectincoated substrata in the absence of serum and the presence of agents which elevate intracellular 3‘:5‘-cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels they adopt an abnormal, stellated morphology. To determine whether the invasive adenylate cyclase (AC) toxin of induced the same response, cell extracts were prepared from several strains. They were characterized for AC toxin production by enzymic assay and by immunobiotting with an AC-toxin-specific monoclonal antibody. Extracts of strains producing AC toxin induced elevated levels of intracellular cAMP in BHK cells and promoted a stellation response during cell spreading. Extracts prepared from strains defective in AC toxin production showed no effect. Using image analysis to quantify the morphological change, we have demonstrated that the effect of AC toxin on cell spreading is dose dependent. This technique is a rapid and sensitive assay for the invasive AC toxin.


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