↓ Skip to main content

Incorporation of a non-human glycan mediates human susceptibility to a bacterial toxin

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, December 2008
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

1 blog
4 tweeters
4 patents
1 Wikipedia page
1 research highlight platform


175 Dimensions

Readers on

159 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
2 Connotea
Incorporation of a non-human glycan mediates human susceptibility to a bacterial toxin
Published in
Nature, December 2008
DOI 10.1038/nature07428
Pubmed ID

Emma Byres, Adrienne W. Paton, James C. Paton, Jonas C. Löfling, David F. Smith, Matthew C. J. Wilce, Ursula M. Talbot, Damien C. Chong, Hai Yu, Shengshu Huang, Xi Chen, Nissi M. Varki, Ajit Varki, Jamie Rossjohn, Travis Beddoe


AB(5) toxins comprise an A subunit that corrupts essential eukaryotic cell functions, and pentameric B subunits that direct target-cell uptake after binding surface glycans. Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) is an AB(5) toxin secreted by Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC), which causes serious gastrointestinal disease in humans. SubAB causes haemolytic uraemic syndrome-like pathology in mice through SubA-mediated cleavage of BiP/GRP78, an essential endoplasmic reticulum chaperone. Here we show that SubB has a strong preference for glycans terminating in the sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), a monosaccharide not synthesized in humans. Structures of SubB-Neu5Gc complexes revealed the basis for this specificity, and mutagenesis of key SubB residues abrogated in vitro glycan recognition, cell binding and cytotoxicity. SubAB specificity for Neu5Gc was confirmed using mouse tissues with a human-like deficiency of Neu5Gc and human cell lines fed with Neu5Gc. Despite lack of Neu5Gc biosynthesis in humans, assimilation of dietary Neu5Gc creates high-affinity receptors on human gut epithelia and kidney vasculature. This, and the lack of Neu5Gc-containing body fluid competitors in humans, confers susceptibility to the gastrointestinal and systemic toxicities of SubAB. Ironically, foods rich in Neu5Gc are the most common source of STEC contamination. Thus a bacterial toxin's receptor is generated by metabolic incorporation of an exogenous factor derived from food.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 4 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 159 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 3 2%
Canada 3 2%
Germany 2 1%
Spain 1 <1%
India 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 147 92%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 40 25%
Student > Ph. D. Student 39 25%
Professor > Associate Professor 16 10%
Professor 14 9%
Student > Bachelor 14 9%
Other 25 16%
Unknown 11 7%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 71 45%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 20 13%
Chemistry 17 11%
Immunology and Microbiology 15 9%
Medicine and Dentistry 8 5%
Other 9 6%
Unknown 19 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 24. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 May 2020.
All research outputs
of 18,164,082 outputs
Outputs from Nature
of 81,179 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 227,192 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
of 1,044 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,164,082 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 81,179 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 91.8. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 227,192 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1,044 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 47th percentile – i.e., 47% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.