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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2006 Mar;4(3):212-21.

Yeast viral killer toxins: lethality and self-protection.

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Applied Molecular Biology, University of the Saarland, D-66041 Saarbr├╝cken, Germany.


Since the discovery of toxin-secreting killer yeasts more than 40 years ago, research into this phenomenon has provided insights into eukaryotic cell biology and virus-host-cell interactions. This review focuses on the most recent advances in our understanding of the basic biology of virus-carrying killer yeasts, in particular the toxin-encoding killer viruses, and the intracellular processing, maturation and toxicity of the viral protein toxins. The strategy of using eukaryotic viral toxins to effectively penetrate and eventually kill a eukaryotic target cell will be discussed, and the cellular mechanisms of self-defence and protective immunity will also be addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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