Caister Academic Press

Microbial Toxins as Tools in Cell Biology

Julie Claudinon, Gustaf E. Rydell and Winfried Römer
from: Bacterial Toxins: Genetics, Cellular Biology and Practical Applications (Edited by: Thomas Proft). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)

Abstract

Microbial toxins are important virulence factors of many bacteria and still a significant threat to human health. Over the years, many toxins have attracted remarkable attention not only from microbiologists, but also in particular from the field of cell biology, where they have become valuable tools to manipulate and investigate fundamental cellular and physiological processes. In this review, we highlight the use of microbial toxins by life scientists for permeabilizing cell membranes, targeting cell surface receptors, elucidating intracellular trafficking pathways and signaling mechanisms, and for specifically inactivating DNA and protein functions, amongst others. The use of microbial toxins as important cell biology tools for a multitude of applications benefits from many of the characteristics that they have naturally acquired through interactions with their hosts during co-evolution. Microbial toxins have emerged from being the patient's 'foe' to becoming a highly useful scientist's 'friend' read more ...
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