Caister Academic Press

Toxins Damaging Cellular Membranes: Paradigms and Molecular Features

Joseph E. Alouf
from: Bacterial Pathogenesis: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms (Edited by: Camille Locht and Michel Simonet). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


The repertoire of the bacterial cytolytic pore-forming protein toxins (PTFs) comprises ca. 86 identified members produced by both Gram-positive and -negative bacteria. The essential functional feature of these cytolysins is their capacity to provoke the formation of hydrophilic pores in the cytoplasmic membranes of target eukaryotic cells. This process results from the binding of the proteins on the cell surface, followed by their oligomerization, which leads to the insertion of the oligomers into the membrane and formation of protein-lined channels. This insertion provokes the impairment of the osmotic balance of the cell and subsequent cytolysis. The classification and molecular aspects of a number of important PTFs are described, as well as the pathophysiological features of some of these cytolysins and their relation to human diseases read more ...
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