Research – Clostridial Neurotoxins: Structure, Function and Implications to Other Bacterial Toxins


Gram-positive bacteria are ancient organisms. Many bacteria, including Gram-positive bacteria, produce toxins to manipulate the host, leading to various diseases. While the targets of Gram-positive bacterial toxins are diverse, many of those toxins use a similar mechanism to invade host cells and exert their functions. Clostridial neurotoxins produced by Clostridial tetani and Clostridial botulinum provide a classical example to illustrate the structure–function relationship of bacterial toxins. Here, we critically review the recent progress of the structure–function relationship of clostridial neurotoxins, including the diversity of the clostridial neurotoxins, the mode of actions, and the flexible structures required for the activation of toxins. The mechanism clostridial neurotoxins use for triggering their activity is shared with many other Gram-positive bacterial toxins, especially molten globule-type structures. This review also summarizes the implications of the molten globule-type flexible structures to other Gram-positive bacterial toxins. Understanding these highly dynamic flexible structures in solution and their role in the function of bacterial toxins not only fills in the missing link of the high-resolution structures from X-ray crystallography but also provides vital information for better designing antidotes against those toxins. View Full-Text

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