The site of action of a Vero toxin (VT2 or Shiga-like toxin II) from enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Shiga toxin from Shigella dysenteriae 1 on eukaryotic ribosomes was studied. Treatment of eukaryotic ribosomes with either toxin caused the release of a fragment of 400 nucleotides from 28S ribosomal RNA when the isolated ribosomal RNA was treated with aniline. Release of this fragment with aniline treatment was accompanied by inhibition of protein synthesis and of elongation-factor-1-dependent aminoacyl-tRNA binding to ribosomes. Analysis of the nucleotide sequence of the 3′-terminal fragment of 553 nucleotides of 28S rRNA of rat liver 60s ribosomal subunits suggested that an adenine base at position 4324 (A-4324) was absent in toxin-treated 28S rRNA. Further analysis by thin-layer chromatography demonstrated quantitative release of adenine from rat liver ribosomes on treatment with the toxins. These results indicate that both VT2 and Shiga toxin inactivate 60S ribosomal subunits by cleaving the N-glycosidic bond at A-4324 in 28S ribosomal RNA.
elongation factor 1