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Immunol Rev. 2008 Oct;225:226-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00681.x.

The bacterial superantigen and superantigen-like proteins.

Author information

1
The Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery & School of Medical Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag, Auckland, New Zealand. j.d.fraser@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

The bacterial superantigens are protein toxins that bind to major histocompatibility complex class II and T-cell receptor to stimulate large numbers of T cells. The majority are produced by the Gram-positive organisms Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes and are the causative agents in toxic shock syndrome, an acute disease caused by the sudden and massive release of T-cell cytokines into the blood stream. The structure and function of the superantigens has revealed a common architecture that is also shared by another group of staphylococcal virulence factors called the superantigen-like proteins (SSL). Together, this family of structurally related molecules highlights how a common pathogenic organism has employed a simple but adaptable protein to generate an armamentarium of potent defense molecules designed to target of the innate and adaptive immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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