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Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Nov;27(11):552-8.

Botulinum and tetanus neurotoxins: structure, function and therapeutic utility.

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Dept of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, Claverton Down, UK BA2 7AY.


The toxic products of the anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium butyricum, Clostridium barati and Clostridium tetani are the causative agents of botulism and tetanus. The ability of botulinum neurotoxins to disrupt neurotransmission, often for prolonged periods, has been exploited for use in several medical applications and the toxins, as licensed pharmaceutical products, now represent the therapeutics of choice for the treatment for several neuromuscular conditions. Research into the structures and activities of botulinum and tetanus toxins has revealed features of these proteins that might be useful in the design of improved vaccines, effective inhibitors and novel biopharmaceuticals. Here, we discuss the relationships between structure, mechanism of action and therapeutic use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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