Thursday, 5 July 2018

Uncovering mechanism of action for a class of pore-forming bacterial toxins


Pore-forming toxins are bacterial poisons that destroy cells by creating holes in the cell membranes. Many bacterial pathogens produce such toxins, including, for example, some strains of the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli as well as Yersinia enterolitica, a pathogen related to the plague. They attack all kinds of organisms with the help of their toxins -- from plants to insects, and even humans.

Scientists all over the world are trying to understand how these toxins produce the fatal openings in cell membranes in hope of one day inhibiting the pathogenic, pore-forming poisons.

After several years of research, an interdisciplinary team from the Technical University of Munich managed to elucidate the mode of action of a toxin subspecies in which two components interact to develop the deadly effect.

See:

Bastian Bräuning, Eva Bertosin, Florian Praetorius, Christian Ihling, Alexandra Schatt, Agnes Adler, Klaus Richter, Andrea Sinz, Hendrik Dietz, Michael Groll. Structure and mechanism of the two-component α-helical pore-forming toxin YaxABNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04139-2

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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