Aerolysin family pore-forming toxins damage the membrane, but membrane repair responses used to resist them, if any, remain controversial. Four proposed membrane repair mechanisms include toxin removal by caveolar endocytosis, clogging by annexins, microvesicle shedding catalyzed by MEK, and patch repair. Which repair mechanism aerolysin triggers is unknown. Membrane repair requires Ca2+, but it is controversial if Ca2+ flux is triggered by aerolysin. Here, we determined Ca2+ influx and repair mechanisms activated by aerolysin. In contrast to what is seen with cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs), removal of extracellular Ca2+ protected cells from aerolysin. Aerolysin triggered sustained Ca2+ influx. Intracellular Ca2+ chelation increased cell death, indicating that Ca2+-dependent repair pathways were triggered. Caveolar endocytosis failed to protect cells from aerolysin or CDCs. MEK-dependent repair did not protect against aerolysin. Aerolysin triggered slower annexin A6 membrane recruitment compared to CDCs. In contrast to what is seen with CDCs, expression of the patch repair protein dysferlin protected cells from aerolysin. We propose aerolysin triggers a Ca2+-dependent death mechanism that obscures repair, and the primary repair mechanism used to resist aerolysin is patch repair. We conclude that different classes of bacterial toxins trigger distinct repair mechanisms.

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