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Trends Microbiol. 2003 Sep;11(9):431-7.

The journey of tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins in neurons.

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MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


Anaerobic bacteria of the genus Clostridia are a major threat to human and animal health, being responsible for pathologies ranging from food poisoning to gas gangrene. In each of these, the production of sophisticated exotoxins is the main cause of disease. The most powerful clostridial toxins are tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins, the causative agents of tetanus and botulism. They are structurally organized into three domains endowed with distinct functions: high affinity binding to neurons, membrane translocation and specific cleavage of proteins controlling neuroexocytosis. Recent discoveries regarding the mechanism of membrane recruitment and sorting of these neurotoxins within neurons make them ideal tools to uncover essential aspects of neuronal physiology in health and disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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