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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1997;412:225-32.

Intracellular transport and processing of protein toxins produced by enteric bacteria.

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Institute for Cancer Research, Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, Oslo, Norway.


Bacterial toxins are associated with disease in humans and animals. Toxins can either be preformed in food or produced by bacteria in the intestine. There are two types of toxins: heat-labile protein toxins and heat stabile toxins. Heat labile toxins are produced by Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli, and Vibrio cholerae, and heat-stabile enterotoxins consisting of relatively few amino acids are produced by Escherichia coli and acts by activation of guanylate cyclase. Similarly, heat-stabile entero-toxins are also produced by Staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of food poisoning in the United States, and Yersenia enterocolitica. Protein toxins produced by enteric bacteria can intoxicate intestinal cells and can also be taken up from the gut and reach other cells in the body. For example the Shiga-like toxins (vero-toxins) can intoxicate endothelial cells in the kidney and cause kidney failure. Intracellular transport and processing of a few of the protein toxins produced by enteric bacteria, namely Clostridium difficile toxin A and B, cholera toxin and the related heat-labile toxin produced by Escherichia coli, and Shiga toxin and Shiga-like toxins are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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