Novel Properties of Well-Characterized Toxins
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2013) | Viewed by 296062
Interests: shiga toxins; verotoxins; ribosome-inactivating proteins; intracellular signaling pathways activated by microbial toxins; ER stress response; regulation of cytokine expression; innate immune response to microbial toxins; microbial pathogenesis
Compounds expressed by microbes and plants originally described to possess toxic activities (e.g., cytotoxins, neurotoxins, enterotoxins, etc.) have proven to be remarkably multifunctional molecules. For example, the capacity of Shiga toxins, a family of cytotoxins expressed by enteric pathogens, to act as ribosome-inactivating proteins was characterized in the 1980’s. Yet, it has recently been shown that in addition to protein synthesis inhibition, Shiga toxins are capable of: i) mediating membrane curvature and invagination; ii) triggering protein kinase signaling cascades upon membrane receptor binding; iii) being routed to multiple intracellular compartments including lysosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum, and nuclear membranes; iv) mediating transcytotic transport across polarized epithelial monolayers without cytotoxicity; v) activating the ribotoxic stress response leading to MAPK activation; vi) activating the ER stress pathway leading to induction of transcription factors and chaperone expression; vii) inducing chemokine expression by human intestinal epithelial cells; viii) inducing cytokine expression by macrophages; ix) altering normal cell cycling; x) altering cytoskeletal elements; and xi) inducing apoptosis in some cell types and inhibiting spontaneous apoptosis in other cells. Thus, these “toxins” activate a myriad of biological processes, many of which may contribute to pathogenesis. The ability to genetically manipulate toxin genes to produce toxoids (mutations that attenuate toxicity) has revealed many heretofore uncharacterized biological properties of toxins. In this special issue of Toxins, we will explore recently described novel properties of well-characterized toxins, discuss their role in pathogenesis, and review potential clinical applications to prevent or ameliorate toxin-mediated disease.
Prof. Dr. Vernon L. Tesh
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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.
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- microbial toxins
- plant toxins
- biological functions of toxins
- non-toxic properties of toxins
- cellular response to toxins