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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2002 Dec;23(12):539-41.

Anthrax X-rayed: new opportunities for biodefence.

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  • 1Institut für Biotechnologie, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Kurt-Mothes-Strasse 3, D-06120 Halle an der Saale, Germany.


Bacillus anthracis, the agent responsible for inhalation anthrax, exerts its lethal effects via the production of anthrax toxin (protective antigen, lethal factor and oedema factor); anthrax kills because the toxin overwhelms the patient before innate host defence systems have a chance to eradicate the invaders. Structural studies on these three components provide a starting point for the design of novel drugs to neutralize toxin action, yielding a valuable adjunct to conventional antibiotic treatment.

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