Bacterial toxins that modify the actin cytoskeleton

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2002:18:315-44. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.18.012502.134748. Epub 2002 Apr 2.


Bacterial pathogens utilize several strategies to modulate the organization of the actin cytoskeleton. Some bacterial toxins catalyze the covalent modification of actin or the Rho GTPases, which are involved in the control of the actin cytoskeleton. Other bacteria produce toxins that act as guanine nucleotide exchange factors or GTPase-activating proteins to modulate the nucleotide state of the Rho GTPases. This latter group of toxins provides a temporal modulation of the actin cytoskeleton. A third group of bacterial toxins act as adenylate cyclases, which directly elevate intracellular cAMP to supra-physiological levels. Each class of toxins gives the bacterial pathogen a selective advantage in modulating host cell resistance to infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / microbiology*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Eukaryotic Cells / microbiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / ultrastructure
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology
  • Humans
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins