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J Soc Biol. 1999;193(6):509-16.

[Tetanus and botulinum toxins are zinc metallopeptidases: molecular mechanisms and inhibition of their neurotoxicity].

[Article in French]


The very high toxicity of tetanus neurotoxin (TeNT) and botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) are related to their nature of zinc metallopeptidases able to selectively cleave small proteins involved in neurotransmitters exocytosis. At this time, there is no efficient and selective therapy towards tetanos and tobulism as well as protection against a possible spreading of the toxins. We have therefore investigated the minimum sequences of TeNT and BoNT substrates allowing an efficient and simple fluorescent dosage of the enzymatic activity to be developed. Using synaptobrevin (93 amino acids) as substrate of TeNT and several fragments synthesised by solid phase method, we have shown that the clostridial neurotoxins behave as allosteric-type enzymes. This is the first example in zinc metallopeptidases. Based on these results a strategy, including the use of combinatorial chemistry, was carried out issuing in the design of the first potent inhibitors of TeNT and BoNT.

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