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Yale J Biol Med. 2012 Jun;85(2):285-92. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

From structure to solutions: the role of basic research in developing anthrax countermeasures: Microbiology Graduate Program Seminar: Anthrax toxin.

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Section for Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Dr. John Collier traced the discoveries that elucidated the structure and function of the anthrax toxin in his talk "Anthrax Toxin," which was part of the Microbiology Graduate Program Seminar Series at Yale School of Medicine on February 23, 2012. Dr. Collier, Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard University, began by noting the advantages to studying anthrax pathogenesis in a biosafety level-1 lab. This designation does not merely facilitate his research, but also reflects a larger trend of basic research being leveraged to develop translational applications. Basic research on toxin structure has led to the development of a vaccine by Dr. Collier's group. Next-generation prophylactics also may stem from recent discoveries uncovering a role for cellular cofactors that mediate toxin function. Finally, basic research into the toxin substructure has facilitated efforts to change the receptor tropism to target dysregulated cells for therapeutic purposes. The urgency around biodefense agents makes the choice of research priorities a salient issue. As such, this author submits that basic research occupies a unique and lucrative niche driving clinical applications.


John Collier; anthrax toxin; protective antigen; translational research; vaccine

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