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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;357:41-65. doi: 10.1007/82_2011_181.

Ricin and Shiga toxins: effects on host cell signal transduction.

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  • 1Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Box 041, Boston, MA 02111, USA. djandhyala@tuftsmedicalcenter.org


Shiga toxins and ricin are potent inhibitors of protein synthesis. In addition to causing inhibition of protein synthesis, these toxins activate proinflammatory signaling cascades that may contribute to the severe diseases associated with toxin exposure. Treatment of cells with Shiga toxins and ricin have been shown to activate a number of signaling pathways including those associated with the ribotoxic stress response, Nuclear factor kappa B activation, inflammasome activation, the unfolded protein response, mTOR signaling, hemostasis, and retrograde trafficking. In this chapter, we review our current understanding of these signaling pathways as they pertain to intoxication by Shiga toxins and ricin.

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